Banks earns victory; GOP splits key races in Wayne Co.

Christine Ferretti
The Detroit News

One GOP candidate prevailed and another lost in a tight race in two key Wayne County battles for state House, while a Democratic incumbent facing trial on felony charges held on to his seat.

State Rep. Brian Banks

State Rep. Brian Banks earned 66 percent of vote in the battle to retain his seat in Michigan’s District 1 amid claims he falsified documents to obtain a loan.

With 100 percent of unofficial results reported, Banks defeated his Republican challenger, William Broman of Grosse Pointe Woods.

Banks, D-Harper Woods, is running for re-election for his final two-year term in the heavily Democratic district, which includes a portion of Detroit, Harper Woods and Grosse Pointe Woods.

The state Attorney General’s Office filed new felony charges against Banks in late June over allegations he submitted phony pay stubs to get a personal loan from the Metropolitan Credit Union on June 29, 2010. Banks was charged with two felony counts of uttering and publishing, according to a court filing.

Late Tuesday, Banks said he was glad constituents in the 1st District voted to return and continue on with the work he’s done.

“I’m grateful for all who have supported me,” said Banks, who declined to speak about his legal case. “I look forward to working with my colleagues to ensure we continue to make our state a better place to live, work and play.”

In Michigan’s District 23, Republican Trenton Councilman Bob Howey, 53, lost in a close race with Democratic 24-year-old high school teacher Darrin Camilleri, who held 50.3 percent of the vote to Howey’s 49.7 percent, with 100 percent of the county’s precincts reporting.

Camilleri will replace term-limited Republican Rep. Pat Somerville of New Boston in what is considered a swing district.

In 2010, Sommerville won the seat — spanning Brownstown Township, Gibraltar, Grosse Ile Township, Huron Township, Trenton, and Woodhaven — as part of a GOP wave.

Neither could be immediately reached late Tuesday.

In western Wayne County, Praise Baptist Church Senior Pastor Jeff Noble, the Republican, defeated longtime Plymouth City Commissioner, Democrat Colleen Pobur, in his first run for office.

Noble earned 54 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results. The district covers Northville and Northville Township, Plymouth and Plymouth Township, and eastern Canton Township.

Bob Howey, a Republican candidate for state House in District 23.

Noble, 55, of Plymouth said his candidacy was a grassroots effort fueled by residents who are tired of hearing one thing in Lansing and seeing another. Pobur, 57, who has served eight years on the city commission, had said she was ready to hit the ground running in Lansing, tackling equitable funding for public education and road fixes.

Before the final tallies were in late Tuesday, Noble said his campaign was feeling good and closely monitoring the results.

“We’re just wanting to hear from all the voters first and then we’ll see where we’re at,” he said.

The winner will replace term-limited Republican Rep. Kurt Heise of Plymouth in the GOP-leaning district. Pobur couldn’t be immediately reached.

Meanwhile, Ian Conyers, a Detroit Democrat and great-nephew of U.S. Rep. John Conyers Jr., D-Detroit, prevailed over Keith Franklin, R-Detroit, in a special race for an open seat in Michgan’s 4th Senate District. Ian Conyers had 78 percent of the vote after all precincts were in, according to unofficial results.

Conyers, a Georgetown University graduate, worked in constituent relations for former Washington, D.C., Mayor Adrian Fenty and was a regional field director for President Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign.

The district seat, which covers a portion of northwest Detroit and Downriver communities of Allen Park, Lincoln Park and Southgate, was left vacant in April after Smith was jailed for 10 months for shooting up his ex-wife’s car.

“I’m quite prepared to get to work on the first day,” Conyers, 28, told The News Tuesday evening. Constituents, he said, are concerned with job creation, protecting neighborhoods and developing communities.

“I’m excited to be given the opportunity and look forward to being a public servant.”

Others races include:

District 11: Inkster City Councilman Jewell Jones was trailing Republican Robert Pope of Garden City for the seat of former state Rep. Lauren Plawecki, the Dearborn Heights Democrat who died this summer during a trip to Oregon.

District 15: Democrat Abdullah Hammoud of Dearborn, defeated pro wrestler Terrance “Rhino” Gerin of Dearborn, earning 64 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results.