New Boundaries Create New Dimensions in Macomb County Election – Macomb Daily


Political candidates have filed nominations for Senate and House seats in districts that are expanding further into Wayne County and other neighboring counties than ever before, creating more diverse districts.

The filing deadline rose to 4 p.m. Tuesday for state, congressional and county seats for this year’s primary and elections, which are nationally known as the midterms of the Congress. Candidates have until Friday 4 p.m. to withdraw.

This year’s election will be the first execution of newly drawn district boundaries by the state and county boundary commissions and includes many multi-county districts.

Political consultant Adrian Hemond said the State Lines Commission, for the first time in decades, was not bound by what were called “Apol standards”, which required that state borders follow county lines.

“They broke county lines everywhere,” Hemond said. “County stays are the new thing.”

New borders and the continued impact of term limits have created many open seats and opportunities for candidates for the state House of Representatives. In Macomb County’s 14 State House seats, only four current lawmakers are running. Statewide, of the House’s 110 seats, at least 68 will have a newcomer.

“There are a lot of open seats due to term limits and the way the lines have been redrawn,” said Hemond, CEO of Grassroots Midwest in Lansing.

Perhaps the most contested state race in the county this year will feature two limited-term state representatives, Republican Pamela Hornberger of Chesterfield Township and Democrat Kevin Hertel of St. Clair Shores, who will will likely face off in November for the seat of the 12th Senate District, which is a coastal district running from New Baltimore in the south to Grosse Pointe in Wayne County. It was on the presumption that Hornberger beat his main opponent, Michael Williams.

A mad dash to watch will be two currently incumbent Democrats looking to challenge GOP State Sen. Mike MacDonald of Macomb Township in November for the 11th District seat, if he survives his primary challenge.

Democratic County Commissioner Veronica Klinefelt of Eastpointe is giving up her county seat to run and Eastpointe Mayor Monique Owens can keep her current seat while she runs. Democratic candidates realize their party’s nominee will have a good chance of unseating MacDonald as the seat tilts about 55% to 57% Democrat, according to Hemond.

This race also includes Macomb Township’s infamous Melissa Carone, who testified in December 2020 with attorney Rudy Giuliani before a state House committee about allegations of voter fraud. Carone’s testimony was reported nationally and parodied on an episode of “Saturday Night Live”.

“I think it’s hilarious,” Hemond said. “I don’t think Republicans think it’s hilarious because they’re going to have to deal with it during an election cycle.”

Carone originally filed for the 60th District House seat, where she may have had a better chance, but was disqualified by County Clerk Anthony Forlini because she had outstanding fines related to the filings of campaign.

The 11th District, like the 12th Shoreline, is a long north-south district of Macomb Township and crossing Eight Mile Road to Detroit.

Of Macomb County’s seven state senate districts, four extend into Wayne County and one, the 24th District, reaches into Oakland and Lapeer counties and a small portion of Genesee County. Additionally, the 12th District which includes Wayne and Macomb counties also includes a small portion of St. Clair County.

At the State House, county breaks are less extreme because each of the 110 House districts is much smaller than each of the 28 Senate districts, providing more flexibility for linemen, Hemond said.

Five of Macomb County House’s 14 districts extend into Wayne County, although one of the mixed districts, the 10, includes only a tiny portion of Macomb. Additionally, the 66th District of Northwestern Macomb County extends far into Oakland County. The 65th District northeast of Macomb extends into St. Clair and Lapeer counties.

The Third Senate District which includes part of Macomb but has no county nominees. It includes the far southwest corner of Warren and a tiny portion of Sterling Heights, and extends into Detroit, Hamtramck, and Highland Park. This race, which includes only Democrats, features State Sen. Stephanie Chang of Detroit being challenged by Alberta’s Tinsley Taliba of Detroit, a former state representative and former Detroit adviser. This race also includes two other candidates, Toinu Reeves of Detroit and John Ulaj of Hamtramck.

The other Senate district that spans Wayne County, the 10th, includes Democratic Senator Paul Wojno of Warren challenged in the primary by Georgia Mae Lemmons of Detroit, for the right to face the winner of the primary of GOP between Warren’s Joe Hunt, who ran for county executive and served as campaign manager for former county clerk Karen Spranger, and Paul M. Smith, a former Sterling Heights councilman whose candidacy at the State House against Nate Shannon was not supported by the GOP because of his extremist views.

Another House race to watch will feature current state Senator Doug Wozniak taking on Terence Mekoski, both of Shelby Township, and Macomb Township Administrator Frank Cusumano in the GOP primary for the seat of the 59th District House which includes parts of Shelby and Macomb Townships. Wozniak drew attention because he withdrew his candidacy for the 24th seat in the state Senate which already included a powerful Democrat, former Secretary of State Ruth Johnson.

Wozniak last November won the final 14 months of his current 36th District Senate seat, which was vacated by Peter Lucido when he won the 2020 Macomb County prosecutor’s office.

Meanwhile, Mekoski, a federal investigator, is in the rare position of running for two seats simultaneously. He is the GOP nominee for the 36th House District seat in the May 3 election, which includes James Diez as the Democratic nominee. The winner will serve eight months to complete Wozniak’s former term.

For the 59th State House seat, Mekoski, Wozniak and Cusumano are vying for the GOP primary in August to face Diez in the general election. Diez faces no primary opposition.

The 11th District State House race will be highly competitive and diverse as it features 13 candidates — 11 Democrats and two Republicans — seven of whom live in St. Clair Shores and three each reside in Harper Woods and Detroit. One of the candidates, Democrat Patrick Biange, posted videos of himself singing out of tune on Facebook.

Filings for the county’s main congressional seat, the 10th District, did not present any last-minute surprises as the field of two Republicans and five Democrats appears set, despite pulling out on Friday. The Republicans are John James and Tony Marcinkewciz, and the Democrats Carl Marlinga, Henry Yanez, Angela Rogensues, Rhonda Powell and Huwaida Arraf.

The Ninth District Congressional Headquarters, which also includes a significant portion of Macomb County, features U.S. Rep. Lisa McClain of Bruce Township facing a GOP lead challenge from Michelle RE Donovan for the right to face the lone Democratic nominee Brian Jaye of Rocheters. It includes most of Macomb Township and further north and east of the county, most of northern Oakland County, all of St. Clair County, and several Inch counties.

Departmental races

In county commission races, 11 of 13 commissioners are seeking re-election, albeit in newly aligned districts.

In the 13th arrondissement, where Klinefelt would have presented himself, three Democrats and two Republicans are in the running. The Democratic field includes Eastpointe Councilwoman Sarah Ann Lucido, former County Council worker Courtney Flynn of St. Clair Shores and Robert D. Roscoe of Eastpointe. The GOP candidates are Michael Babat of Eastpointe and Randall J. Shafer of St. Clair Shores, who previously ran for county executive.

Clinton Township Democratic Commissioner Julie Matuzak, who filed for the Seventh District, withdrew on Wednesday, leaving a trio of Republicans and a Democrat in the running. Democrats had complained that the new borders favored Republicans. With Matuzak out, Clinton Township Administrator Tammy T. Patton is the only Democrat. Patton will face the winner of the GOP primary among former commissioner James Perna; Cheryl R. Cannon, wife of Clinton Township Supervisor Bob Cannon; and Leo J. Melise, a retired Clinton Township police officer.

The county council races will also feature two former council members ousted by voters seeking to return to office as they take on the commissioners who defeated them.

Andrey Duzyj challenges Commissioner Michelle Nard in the Democratic primary for the 13th District in Warren, which also includes Kaja S. Ahmed and Terry L. Wisniewski. They will compete to face the only GOP candidate, Bill Clift.

Nard narrowly beat Duzyj and also prevailed over Wisniewski in the August 2020 primary.

Democrat Robert Mijac is seeking a rematch with Republican Don VanSyckel, who beat him by a 54% to 46% margin in November 2020 for the Sterling Heights seat. Both will have to survive the primaries as Mijac faces Pashko Ujkic and VanSyckel faces Gary Lusk and Jackie Ryan.

Two commissioners whose districts were drastically changed by the county redistribution commission face primary and general election challenges if they survive their primaries.

Warren Commissioner Mai Xiong will take on former Warren Councilman Donna Kaczor Caumartin in August and if she survives, she will face the winner of the Republican race between former Warren City Councilman and President Cecil St. Pierre and Clifford Frost.

Democrat Mark Hackel, the county’s first and only executive, will be challenged in November by former Republican County Commissioner Nicholyn Branderburg for a shortened two-year term.

County Clerk Anthony Forlini, who oversees elections in the county, praised all candidates for taking a risk and participating in the political process.

“People are ridiculed for their political views…. and taking personal hits (by running for office), but I give them credit for stepping up and being part of the process.

All candidates have until 4 p.m. Friday to withdraw their names or they will appear on the August ballot.

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