DETROIT — With the votes counted from Tuesday’s election, incumbents and newcomers alike have reason to celebrate. A total of 867,409 voted in Wayne County this election season, 312,028 on Election Day and 555,381 by absentee ballots. Democrats garnered 421,596 votes, while Republicans received 143,979. Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden received 587,074 votes (67.99 percent) and President Trump received 264,149 votes (30.59 percent). Senator Gary Peters (D) received 572,523 votes (67.09 percent) while his Republican opponent, John James, received 259,737 votes (30.44 percent).
Wayne County Democrats retained their state legislature seats, with Karen Whitsett (28,784 votes) re-elected to represent the Ninth District, Jewell Jones (28,127 votes) re-elected to represent the 11th District, Tullio Liberati (26, 719 votes) elected to represent the 13th District and Abdullah Hammoud (28,361 votes) re-elected to represent the 15th District. Abraham Aiyash (27,107) was elected to represent the Fourth District, winning both full and partial terms.
Wayne County Commissioners
On the Wayne County ballot, lifelong Dearborn Heights resident David Knezek, Jr. (40,422 votes) was elected as a Wayne County Commissioner. The 34-year-old has been acting commissioner since February, when Diane Webb resigned. He is the only commissioner representing Dearborn Heights. Also, Wayne County Commissioner Sam Baydoun was re-elected for a second term to represent Dearborn and Allan Park on the Wayne County commission, receiving (42,199 votes). Commissioner Al Haidous (D) was re-elected for a third term with 37,725 votes (76.75 percent)
Michigan Board of Education race
Democrats retained their 6-2 majority on Michigan’s State Board of Education as Ellen Cogen Lipton and Jason Strayhorn won the two seats up for grabs in this week’s election.
With all counties reporting results to the Michigan Secretary of State as of late Thursday afternoon, Lipton had 24.5 percent of the vote, followed by Strayhorn with 23.5 percent. Trailing were Republicans Michelle Frederick with 23 percent and Tami Carlone with 22.8 percent.
Lipton, 53, a former state representative from Huntington Woods, is a patent attorney and has worked on education issues.
Strayhorn, 44, of Novi is a real estate agent and a Fox Sports analyst for Michigan State University football.
Michigan State University Trustees race
A Republican and a Democrat have won seats on the Michigan State University Board of Trustees.
Republican Pat O’Keefe, of Troy, lead the field with 2,372,258 votes, or about 24.2 percent of the total vote, according to results from the Michigan Secretary of State. Democrat Rema Ella Vassar, from Detroit, was close behind at 2,351,992 votes or 24.04 percent of the total tally.
Democratic incumbent Brian Mosallam and Republican Tonya Schuitmaker came in third and fourth, respectively.
University of Michigan and Wayne State University races
Democratic incumbent Mark Bernstein won to serve another term on the University of Michigan Board of Regents, along with Republican Sarah Hubbard, while incumbent Democrat Shirley Stancato and Republican Terri Lynn Land, a former secretary of state, won seats on the Wayne State University Board of Governors.
The winners of the races for seats on the governing boards of Michigan’s three largest universities will serve for eight years as higher education grapples with COVID-19, sexual misconduct scandals, college affordability and other issues.
Other Wayne County races
Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy was re-elected with 600,059 votes. She has been the county prosecutor since 2004 and was the first African American woman to serve as a county prosecutor in the state of Michigan.
Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon ran uncontested and was re-elected, as were County Clerk Cathy Garrett (576,595 votes), Treasurer Eric Sabree (551,262 votes) and Register of Deeds Bernard Youngblood (564,402 votes).
Wayne County Circuit Court race
In the Wayne County Circuit Court — Incumbents, four of the top vote getters were Arab Americans. The top vote getter was Judge David Allen, second top vote getter was Judge Mariam Bazzi and fourth was Judge Charlene Elder, while Judge Helal Farhat came in fifth place among the 15 incumbent judges who retained their seats.
In the Wayne County Circuit Court — Non incumbent race, Mary Beth Kelly returned to the bench after previously serving as a justice on the Michigan Supreme Court, with (276,578 votes) and newcomer Nicholas John Hathaway won the second open seat and received (247,251 votes).
Despite an unprecedented amount of absentee ballots being sent in, both Dearborn Heights City Hall and the Dearborn Administrative Center experienced excessive lines, with wait times lasting more than an hour for first-time voters to register and vote the same day.
Mohamed Nafea, a resident of Dearborn Heights for more than eight years, decided this would be his first year voting in an election.
“I chose to register this year because it’s important,” he said. “I want to do my part as I want better for this country.”
Over in Macomb County, Democratic challenger Michael Chehab (17,016) failed to take the seat from incumbent Diana Farrington (28,198) to represent the 30th District. Democrats failed to gain ground with voters in Macomb, who favored President Trump over Joe Biden and voted Republican in several municipal seats.