(08/08/12) - There was a big upset in Saginaw County Tuesday night, as long-time prosecutor Michael Thomas was defeated in the Democratic primary.
Thomas became Saginaw County's prosecutor during the second term of the Reagan administration. He's held the job for 23 years, but that will come to an end in January.
Thomas was defeated by the city prosecutor John McColgan in the primary by more than 1,000 votes.
Crime was a big campaign issue.
Thomas argued that crime rates are declining, while McColgan said he planned to create a special unit within the prosecutor's office to handle the cases of the most violent offenders.
John McColgan Jr. admits he is a little surprised he knocked off long-time incumbent Mike Thomas in the Saginaw County Prosecutor's race, but his confidence grew with every door he knocked on.
"He has survived so many challenges, all the doors I knocked on, like I said, time for change, need for change, but until they get out and vote, there is not going to be change, but they did," McColgan Jr. said.
The McColgan campaign put out controversial ads just a few days before the election that suggested Thomas gave out favors to friends. McColgan says that's in the past campaign, and he will now focus on November.
"My platform is we need to get off this list of the country's most violent cities or else we are not going anywhere. What I intend to do is to get a task force within the prosecutor's office, the best and brightest over there to focus on these violent criminals," he said.
He says he plans on retaining a number of the current assistant prosecutor's and says he will be in the courtroom on cases as well.
One factor in McColgan's upset could have been the Milton Hall police shooting case. It was five weeks ago when the Saginaw man was shot by police officers, and there has been no decision made yet by the prosecutor's office on if the shooting was justified, or if excessive force was used.
John McColgan will face attorney Matthew Frey in the November election. Frey ran unopposed in the Republican primary.
Mike Thomas released a statement, in part, thanking Saginaw County voters for their years of support.
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