Wayne: Rep. Banks prevails; Conyers wins Senate seat
Another Conyers was poised to become a new state senator Tuesday as a bunch of Democratic state lawmakers including embattled state Rep. Brian Banks of Harper Woods overcame primary challenges in Wayne County.
For the open state Senate seat in the Fourth District, Ian Conyers, 27-year-old great nephew of Detroit U.S. Rep. John Conyers, defeated former state Rep. Fred Durhal Jr.. The 64-year-old Durhal, a political veteran, had attacked Conyers’ relative inexperience during the campaign. The issue failed to carry the day, however, as Conyers garnered more than 34 percent of the vote to Durhal’s 25 percent.
Seven lesser-known candidates also are seeking the 4th District seat, which stretches from Detroit’s north side to the Downriver communities of Allen Park, Lincoln Park and Southgate. They are vying to fill the seat left vacant by former Sen. Virgil Smith’s criminal conviction.
“What he has been doing has been OK,” Detroiter John Dye, 62, said about voting for Durhal. “I can’t trust another Conyers."
The primary victor will be heavily favored to prevail in a Nov. 8 special general election against Republican Keith Franklin and then be sworn into office before the Legislature begins its four-week lame-duck session in late November.
In another highly contested Democratic primary, Banks fended off five opponents for re-election and is poised to serve a final term amid new bank fraud criminal charges that mirror accusations in his past felony convictions.
Banks won 44 percent to 36 percent over attorney Pamela Sossi, a criminal defense attorney from Harper Woods, with 98 percent of precincts reporting. The race is in the 1st House District that includes Harper Woods, Grosse Pointe Woods, Grosse Pointe Shores and a portion of northeast Detroit.
Sossi said she has discussed with voters the charges filed against Banks in late June as well as his eight past felonies from 1998 to 2004 for writing bad checks and credit card fraud. Banks is being charged as a habitual financial crimes offender and faces up to life in prison if convicted, according to the Attorney General’s Office.
Some voters casting ballots Tuesday on the city’s east side supported Banks’ bid for re-election.
“He’s done so much. More than anybody has ever done,” said Connie Rutledge, 58, who noted Banks attends health fairs and community meetings and helps at church functions in the district. “He’s doing an excellent job. He’s really personable.”
Rutledge said Banks has resolved the troubles of his past and she doesn’t buy into the new claims against Banks.
“Whatever happened to a person that does a crime and then it’s over,” added Rutledge, a retired Ford Motor Co. worker.
Rhonda Kindle-McGigor also voted for Banks, saying she doesn’t condone the missteps in Banks’ past, including the claims that he used fraudulent pay stubs to secure a loan in 2010. Banks has said the loan was to pay for a course as he prepared for the Michigan Bar Exam.
She said the intent of seeking and using the funds was to better himself and she’s supportive of that.
In other results in Wayne County:
District 2: In a photo-finish in the State House’s Second District, former state representative Bettie Cook Scott defeated Carla Tinsley-Smith by 23 votes. Tinsley-Smith is the daughter of term-limited Democratic state Rep. Alberta Tinsley Talabi of Detroit.
In the Republican primary, Anthony Matthew Murray defeated Molly Augustine, 62 percent to 38 percent.
Scott will be favored to win in the fall because the 2nd House District — which covers part of east-side Detroit, Grosse Pointe Park, Grosse Pointe and Grosse Pointe Farms — is heavily Democratic.
District 3: State Rep. Wendell Byrd of Detroit defeated six Democratic challengers in his bid for a second term and will face Republican John Brodersen of Detroit in the November election.
District 4: Democratic State Rep. Rose Mary Robinson of Detroit brushed aside six primary challengers including Quincy Jones of Detroit and Hamtramck City Council member Mohammed Hassan for a chance to represent the district for a final two-year term. She will face Republican Matt Schonert of Hamtramck in the fall general election.
District 5: State Rep. Fred Durhal III of Detroit defeated Cynthia Johnson of Detroit in the Democratic primary in hopes of getting a second term. The winner faces Republican Dorothy Patterson of Detroit in the November election.
District 6: First-term state Rep. Stephanie Chang of Detroit beat six opponents in the Democratic primary as she sought a second term.
District 7: State Rep. LaTanya Garrett of Detroit bested Bernard Thompson of Detroit in the Democratic primary. The victor is heavily favored to win in the November general election against Republican Gina Alicia Barr.
District 9: Lending officer Sylvia Santana, wife of term-limited Rep. Harvey Santana of Detroit, cruised in her attempt to keep the House seat in the family. She took in nearly 50 percent of votes in her contest with five other Democratic candidates.
The district covers a portion of Dearborn and parts of Detroit. The winner faces Republican candidate James Stephens of Dearborn in the general election.
District 10: State Rep. Leslie Love of Detroit defeated three other Democrats in this primary. The winner will meet the GOP’s William Brang of Redford Township in the fall election.
District 11: Robert Pope of Garden City defeated Dale Prosser 53 percent to 47 percent in the Republican primary and will take on Democratic Inkster City Council member Jewell Jones in the November general election.
A Democratic panel selected Jones to fill an empty slot on the ballot after the unexpected death of state Rep. Julie Plawecki of Dearborn Heights. In November, Jones, then 20, became the youngest elected city council member in Inkster history.
District 12: First-term Democratic state Rep. Erika Geiss of Taylor easily held off a primary challenge from Edward Martell of Romulus, winning more than 77 percent of the vote. She’ll face Republican Erik Soderquist of Taylor in the November general election.
District 13: First-term Democratic state Rep. Frank Liberati of Allen Park won 74 percent of the vote to soundly defeat primary challenger Rebecca Reed of Southgate. He’ll face Republican Annie Spencer of Southgate in the fall.
District 14: Democrat Cara Clemente of Lincoln Park topped three other primary candidates bidding to replace her husband, term-limited Rep. Paul Clemente, in the “safe” Democratic district.
Clemente won 52 percent of the vote as she defeated Jeff Chicoine of Wyandotte, Daniela Peric of Lincoln Park and John Maranian of Melvindale, according to unofficial results. She’ll take on Republican Darrell Stasik of Riverview in November.
District 15: Democratic health care adviser Abdullah Hammoud and Republican pro wrestler Terrance “Rhyno” Gerin won their respective primaries and are expected to square off in the Dearborn district this fall, according to unofficial results.
Hammoud and Gerin will compete to replace term-limited Rep. George Darany, D-Dearborn, in the Democratic leaning district.
Hammoud won 38 percent of the vote in a crowded Democratic primary that also featured U.S. Navy veteran and Huffington Post columnist Brian Stone, Dearborn school board member Roxanne McDonald, Dearborn schools community liaison Jacklin Zeidan and business owner Norman Alsahoury.
Gerin appeared to defeat former medical industry consultant Paul Sophiea by roughly two percentage points in the GOP primary.
District 16: Matthew Morrow of Wayne topped Pat Gaffka of Westland by 26 percentage points in the Republican primary to take on two-term Democratic state Rep. Robert Kosowski of Westland this November.
District 19: Steve King of Livonia topped Jon Smith by 16 points in the Democratic primary and will face first-term Republican Rep. Laura Cox of Livonia this fall in the GOP-leaning district.
District 20: Jeff Noble of Plymouth, a Baptist minister backed by conservative state Sen. Patrick Colbeck, notched a narrow victory in the Republican primary. Noble won 40 percent of the vote to top Chris Roosen of Plymouth (38 percent) and Jeff Neilson of Northville (22 percent), according to unofficial results.
Plymouth City Commissioner Colleen Pobur defeated John Sullivan in the Democratic primary. She and Noble will battle to replace term-limited GOP Rep. Kurt Heise in a district that Democrats hope to swing in their favor this fall.
The district includes parts of Northville and Canton Township along with all of Northville Township, Plymouth and Plymouth Township.
District 23: Democrats are targeting this Downriver district in their bid to regain control of the state House, hoping to pick up a seat that will be vacated by term-limited Republican Rep. Pat Somerville. The Democratic primary included two young and aggressive candidates —Trenton City Councilman Steven Rzeppa, 23, and high school teacher Darrin Camilleri, 24 — along with Brownstown Township Clerk Sherry Berecz and Elayne Petrucci.
Camilleri took the contest with over 35 percent of the votes, followed by Berecz and Rzeppa.
In the Republican field, Trenton Councilman Bob Howey defeated Taylor police officer Mike Taylor of Huron Township and Michael Frazier.
The swing district includes the cities of Gibraltar, Trenton and Woodhaven along with Brownstown, Grosse Ile and Huron townships.
Staff writer Jim Lynch contributed