Primary election results set up general election races

Woronchak loses bid for state Senate; Knezek upended in re-election bid

Woronchak loses bid for state Senate; Knezek upended in re-election bid

Times-Herald Newspapers

The Aug. 7 primary election finalized Democratic and Republican candidates who will appear on the Nov. 6 general election ballot, with a few surprises.

Wayne County Commission Chairman Gary Woronchak lost his bid for the 3rd District state Senate seat and incumbent Sen. David Knezek was upset by a virtual unknown in his bid for re-election to his 5th District Senate seat.

State Rep. Sylvia Santana (D-Detroit) received 12,660 votes to 11,790 for Woronchak in the Democratic Senate primary. Anita Belle (4,370 votes) and Terry Burrell (1,669) wrapped up the field. Santana will face unopposed Republican Kathy Stecker in November.

Woronchak served in the state House of Representatives from 1999 to 2004 and as Wayne County Commissioner since 2005. He was elected as the Wayne County Commission Chairman in 2011 by his colleagues and is serving his fourth term in that role.

In the 5th Senate District Democratic primary, Betty Jean Alexander upset Knezek with 18,926 votes against 15,803 for the Dearborn Heights incumbent. Alexander admittedly spent less than $1,000 in her campaign and did not respond to voters guide questionnaires from the Times-Herald Newspapers or League of Women Voters.

In the 13th District County Commissioner Democratic primary, Sam Baydoun received 10,419 votes to Brian Stone’s 6,256 votes. Baydoun will move on to vie for a two-year term in the district that covers Dearborn and Allen Park.

For 15th District state representative, Democrat Abdullah Hammoud and Republican Doug Mitchell were unopposed in the primary and will face off on the general election ballot for the two-year term.

Also in Dearborn, Karen Whitsett won the Democratic 9th District state House primary over Gary Pollard, 5,008 votes to 3,077. Donald Stuckey was a distant third with 792 votes. James Stephens was unopposed in the Republican primary.

In 13th District congressional races, Rashida Tlaib edged Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones 27,803 to 26,916 in the Democratic primary for a full term beginning in January. Jones, however, edged Tlaib 32,727 to 31,084 in the primary to fill the remainder of the term vacated in January by John Conyers amid allegations of sexual harassment.

In the six-person full-term primary, Bill Wild finished third with 12,589 votes, Coleman Young II fourth with 11,162, Ian Conyers fifth with 5,861 and Shanelle Jackson sixth with 4,848. In the four-person partial-term primary, Wild received 12, 589 votes and Conyers received 9,740 votes.

If elected in November, Tlaib would become the first Muslim woman elected to Congress.

Questions remain whether a Republican challenger will be on the general election ballot for either race as none were on the primary ballot.

In the 11th state House District, Democrat incumbent Jewell Jones returns to the general election after receiving 6,203 votes to challenger Randy Walker’s 3,765. Republican James Townsend was unopposed on the primary ballot.

In the 13th state House District, Frank Liberati outdistanced Asmaa Alhasani in the Democratic primary, 6,858 to 2,060. Republican candidate Annie Spencer was unopposed.

Democrat incumbent Debbie Dingell and Republican Jeff Jones were unopposed in the 12th Congressional District primary and will move on to the November election.

The Wayne County Executive race saw Denis Curran receive 56,569 votes to Adam Salam Adamski’s 7,762 votes in the Republican primary. Curran will face unopposed incumbent Democrat Warren Evans in November for the four-year term.

A total of 21,052 voters went to the polls out of 61,528 registered voters in Dearborn totaling a 34 percent turnout, according to the unofficial results. In Dearborn Heights, 10,427 of 39,203 registered voters cast their ballots during the primary election for a 27 percent voter turnout, according to the city’s website.

For Wayne County election results go to

(Zeinab Najm can be reached at