There are only three contested races for the Berrien County Board of Commissioners in the November election.

In District 5, Democrat incumbent Rayonte Bell, of Benton Harbor, is being challenged by Republican Karen Garlanger, also of Benton Harbor.

In District 8, Republican incumbent Teri Sue Freehling, of Baroda, will face Democrat Brett Muchow, of Buchanan.

In District 9, Democrat Michelle Hannon, of New Buffalo, will face Republican Alex Ott, of Sawyer. The incumbent, Ezra Scott, is not running for reelection.

Commissioners are elected for two-year terms. Due to redistricting, some of the boundaries for county commission districts have changed.

District 1

Commissioner David Vollrath, R-Coloma, is running unopposed. District 1 includes Coloma; Coloma Township; Hagar Township, precinct 2; Watervliet Township; and Watervliet.

District 2

Commissioner Jon Hinkelman, R-Watervliet, is running unopposed. District 2 includes Bainbridge Township; Berrien Township; Berrien Springs (part of Berrien Township, precinct 2); Pipestone Township; Eau Claire (part of Pipestone Township precinct 1), and Niles Township, precinct 1.

District 3

Chokwe Pitchford, 23, D-Benton Harbor, is running unopposed. District 3 includes Hagar Township, precinct 1; Sodus Township; and Benton Township, precincts 1, 5 and 6.

District 4

Commissioner Mamie Yarbrough, D-Benton Harbor, is running unopposed. District 4 includes Benton Harbor and Benton Township, precincts 2 and 4. District 5

District 5

Voters mug Rayonte' Bell.jpg


Commissioner Rayonte’ D. Bell, 23, D-Benton Harbor, is a pre-engineering student at Lake Michigan College. In addition, he works as deputy director of Berrien Forward, a nonprofit. Bell was first elected as a county commissioner in 2020.

Voters mug Karen Garlanger.jpg


Karen Garlanger, 44, R-Benton Harbor, is an interior designer and has been the owner of Welcome Home Design Group and Welcome Home Construction Group for 13 years. This is the first time she’s run for a political office.

District 5 includes the St. Joseph; St. Joseph Township, precincts 1 and 2; and Shoreham (part of St. Joseph Township, precinct 2).

District 6

Commissioner Julie Wuerfel, 59, R-St. Joseph, is running unopposed. District 6 includes Royalton Township; St. Joseph Township, precincts 3 and 4; Benton Township, precinct 3; and Lincoln Township, precinct 5.

District 7

Commissioner Robert Harrison, 71, R-Stevensville, is running unopposed. District 7 includes Lincoln Township, precincts 1, 2, 3, 4 and 6; and Stevensville (part of Lincoln Township, precinct 6).

District 8

Voters mug Teri Freehling.jpg


Commissioner Teri Freehling, 45, R-Baroda, is the owner of Freehling Family Farms and Baroda Valley Farms. She was first elected as a county commissioner in 2015, where she serves as vice chair and parliamentarian. She serves on several committees and boards, including Southwest Michigan Planning Commission, Berrien County Planning Commission, Michigan State University Extension Advisory Committee and the Berrien County Broadband Taskforce.

Voters mug Brett Muchow.jpg


Brett Muchow, 43, D-Buchanan, is a farm manager at Verdant Hollow Farms in Oronoko Township, where he works with his wife and three sons. He was previously a high school English teacher in Chicago Public Schools for over a decade. In addition, he is co-chair of the Community Engagement Council at Andrews University in Berrien Springs. This is his first time running for office.

District 8 includes Baroda Township; Baroda (part of Baroda Township, precinct 1); Oronoko Township; and Berrien Springs (part of Oronoko Township, precinct 2).

District 9

Voters mug Michelle Hannon.jpg


Michelle Hannon, 41, D-New Buffalo, has 15 years of experience as a litigation paralegal. She is on several boards, including the New Buffalo Area Recreational Authority, Friends of the New Buffalo Township Library, New Buffalo Township Zoning Board of Appeals and New Buffalo Township Parks Committee.

Voters mug Alexander Ott.jpg


Alexander Ott, 52, R-Sawyer, owns FixIT Computing in Bridgman. This is his first time running for a political office.

District 9 includes Bridgman; Lake Township; New Buffalo; New Buffalo Township; Grand Beach (New Buffalo Township, precinct 1); Michiana (New Buffalo Township, precinct 1); and Chikaming Township.

District 10

Commissioner Richard “Mac” Elliott, R-Buchanan, is running unopposed. District 10 includes Buchanan; Buchanan Township; Galien Township; Galien (part of Galien Township, precinct 1); Three Oaks Township; Three Oaks (part of Three Oaks Township, precinct 1); and Weesaw Township.

District 11

James Curran, R-Niles, is running unopposed. District 11 includes Bertrand Township; and Niles Township part of precinct 2 and precincts 3, 4 and 5.

District 12

Commissioner Michael Majerek, R-Niles, is running unopposed. District 12 includes Niles and Niles Township, part of precinct 2.