Gernant is the only Democrat thus far to file for the seat, which became vacant last Friday morning when State Rep. Cindy Gamrat was expelled by the House of Representatives for attempting to cover up an extra-marital affair with fellow State Rep. Todd Courser.
The 80th District includes all of Allegan County except Wayland, Leighton and Dorr Townships and the City of Wayland.
The winner of the special general election next March will serve at least until the end of 2016. There will be a regular primary and general election in August and November 2016 for the full two-tear term beginning Jan. 1, 2017.
Gernant will make his formal announcement at 3 p.m. Friday, Sept. 18, at the Allegan County Courthouse. In case of rain, it will be held at Allegan County Democratic Party’s headquarters at 327 Hubbard St.
The Allegan County Democratic Party is inviting the public to attend the formal announcement ceremony to get a chance to meet Gernant.
Gernant attended Harvard Law School and now is a retired trial judge. He had worked at the U.S. Department of the Interior as a young attorney, 1970-72. He moved to Oregon to take a position with the Oregon Judicial Department at the Supreme Court and State Court Administrator’s Office.
For nine years, Gernant was a solo practitioner specializing in appeals. His last case went to the U.S. Supreme Court, and was argued the month before he took office as a trial judge in Portland (Ore.) in January 1993. He was appointed by the governor and won election to six-year terms in 1994 and 2000.
He served full-time until November 2006 and until October 2008 was a part-time “senior judge” in both capacities, taking trial assignments in all subject areas.
Two Republicans, Mary Whiteford and Jim Storey, already have filed as well, and they will meet in the Nov. 3 primary.