Voters make partisan picks in primary

By J. PATRICK PEPPER
Times-Herald Newspapers

And then there were two.

Area voters thinned the herd last week, picking a Democratic and Republican nominee in primary elections for a number of local, state and federal offices.

With the intrigue of a diverse – and crowded – GOP gubernatorial primary, Republicans showed up in greater numbers than Democrats in both Dearborn and Dearborn Heights for the Aug. 3 election.

Ann Arbor businessman Rick Snyder was the choice for Republican voters statewide, with top challengers U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra and Attorney General Mike Cox finishing second and third, respectively.

The trend overwhelmingly favored Snyder, as the former Dearborn resident nearly doubled the votes received by his closest competitor, taking more than 40 percent of the GOP vote in both communities. Diverging from the broader state polling, Cox came in second in Dearborn and Dearborn Heights.

The Livonia resident Cox pulled 24 percent of the vote in Dearborn Heights and 22 percent of the vote in Dearborn, whereas the Holland resident Hoekstra only received about 18 percent in both communities.

On the Democratic side, Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero won his party’s nod over competitor Andy Dillon, the current House speaker, by a 53 percent-to-47 percent margin statewide. The margin for Bernero in Dearborn was tight, with only 40 votes separating him from Dillon out of more than 5,000 cast.

In Dearborn Heights, with about 59 percent of the vote, Dillon appeared to capitalize on the constituency he’s represented for six years as 17th District state representative. His vote share there was his third-best showing in Wayne County, eclipsed only by shares in Grosse Pointe Farms, at 60 percent, and his hometown, Redford Township, where he won 63 percent of the vote.

For local Congressional seats, all eyes were on the Republican side of the ballot, with incumbent Democrats John Dingell and John Conyers facing no intraparty challengers for the 15th and 14th districts, respectively.

In the 15th, which includes west Dearborn and parts of Dearborn Heights, cardiologist Dr. Rob Steele was the big winner taking more than 45 percent of the vote. Candidates from Dearborn Tony Amorose and Majed Moughni finished third and fourth, respectively, in the four-man race.

The 14th District, comprising parts of East Dearborn, Detroit and several Downriver communities, was won by Trentonite Don Ukraniec, who bested opponent Pauline Montie by a 55 percent-to-45 percent margin.

For state Legislature races, the partisan intrigue lay with the Democrats. In the four state House districts that cover Dearborn and Dearborn Heights – the 11th,15th, 16th, and 17th – lone Republican candidates breezed through each primary as a cadre of would-be Democrat opponents fought for a chance to make it to November.

Incumbent David Nathan won the nod for 11th District representative, easily besting his three opponents with more than 70 percent of the vote. The 11th includes western Detroit and a sliver of northeast Dearborn. Nathan will face Republican Leornard Mier of Dearborn in the general election.

Dearborn City Councilman George Darany was the victor for the four-way 15th District race and will go onto face Republican and fellow council member Suzanne Sareini in the general election.

Darany, with 44 percent, overcame the well-funded efforts of Linda Tafelski, who managed 36 percent of the vote in her first foray into elective politics. Stephen Dobkowki Jr. and Alex Shami split the rest of the votes, finishing third and fourth, respectively.

Incumbent 16th District representative Bob Constan fended off challenger Michael Greene to win the Democratic nomination in his third consecutive attempt. Constan, of Dearborn Heights, took about 60 percent of the 4,300 ballots cast and will face Republican Michael Mullins in November.

For voters in the 17th District, the choice was Phil Cavanagh who outpaced his opponent Frank Tomcsik by a roughly 73 percent-to-27 percent margin. Cavanagh, of Redford Township, will face GOP candidate Michael Adams in the general election.

The only contested primary race locally for the Michigan Senate was for Democrats in the 3rd District, which includes all of Dearborn and parts of Detroit, Melvindale and River Rouge. With about 45 percent of the vote, former state Rep. Morris Hood of Detroit bested Dearborn labor attorney William Issac Robinson, who captured about 40 percent. Detroiter Mohamed Okdie won the remaining votes and came in third.

On the county level, incumbent 9th District Wayne County Commissioner Diane Webb won the Democratic nomination over opponent Michael Todd, with nearly 75 percent of the 2,676 voters choosing her. The district includes Dearborn Heights.

Webb now faces Republican Mark Cochran in the general election.