Daughter seeks state House seat after mom’s death

Jonathan Oosting
Detroit News Lansing Bureau

Lansing — The daughter of a state legislator who died last month is among 11 Democrats seeking to take her place on the Aug. 2 primary ballot in Michigan’s 11th House District.

Lauren Plawecki, 22, filed a letter of intent Tuesday afternoon to run for the seat held by Rep. Julie Plawecki, D-Dearborn Heights, who died after a heart attack during a hiking trip in Oregon. Democratic precinct delegates will meet Thursday to select a primary candidate.

Separately, Gov. Rick Snyder on Tuesday called a special election to complete Plawecki’s term, which runs through the end of 2016. The special primary is scheduled for Aug. 30 and will be followed by a general election Nov. 8.

Candidates must file for the special election by July 12. It’s not immediately clear whether Lauren Plawecki will seek the interim position as well. She could not immediately be reached for comment.

The special election winner would serve in the state House for less than two months during what could be a busy lame-duck period.

“While we are still mourning the passing of Rep. Plawecki, the residents of the 11th House District need representation,” Snyder said in a statement announcing the special election.

The Wayne County district includes Garden City, Inkster and parts of Dearborn Heights, Livonia and Westland.

Plawecki’s death has left Democrats scrambling to fill her spot for the separate, regularly scheduled Aug. 2 primary and prompted some clerks to invalidate absentee ballots that had already been mailed out with her name on them.

Democratic precinct delegates will meet behind closed doors Thursday in Westland, where they will select three delegates who will then pick the party’s 11th District state House candidate, a little-known process prescribed under Michigan law.

Eleven individual candidates had submitted resumes and letters of intent by Tuesday’s 5 p.m. deadline, according to 13th Congressional District Democratic Party Chairman Jonathan Kinloch.

Lauren Plawecki’s resume indicated she attended the University of Michigan and recently interned at the Guggenheim Museum in New York.

Other hopefuls include Dearborn Heights Councilwoman Lisa Hicks Clayton, Inkster Council members Jewell Jones and DeAtriss Richardson, former Inkster Mayor Hilliard Hampton, former Dearborn Heights Councilman Ned Apigian, ACCESS supervisor Rafael Narbaez, Dearborn City Planner Mohamed Ayoub and Dearborn teacher Rashid Baydoun, who finished second to Plawecki in the 2014 Democratic primary.

Also running are former Dearborn Heights Councilman Ned Apigian, Robert Johnson and Aaron Sims of Inkster.

The candidate selected Thursday would run unopposed in the Democratic primary and compete in the Nov. 2 general election to fill Plawecki’s seat next term.

“Conventional wisdom” suggest the same person would also run to complete Plawecki’s current term, Kinloch said, but it is not yet clear which candidates could vie for the interim position.

The following are deadlines for the 11th District special election, as detailed by Snyder in a letter to Secretary of State Ruth Johnson:

■July 12: Last date for Democratic and Republican party candidates to file affidavits of identity and nominating petitions or filing fee.

■July 15: Last date for Democratic and Republican candidates to withdraw.

■July 21: Last date for candidates without political party affiliation to file qualifying petitions and affidavits of identity.

■July 25: Last date for candidates who are without political party affiliation to withdraw.

■Aug. 2: Last date for minor parties to hold county caucuses to nominate candidates; filing deadline is one business day after the conclusion of the caucus.

■Aug. 30: Special primary election.

■Nov. 8: Special general election.