DEARBORN - The race for 15th District State Representative was one of the most talked-about in recent memory in the city of Dearborn, and when the dust settled on the night of Tuesday, November 2, Democrat George Darany had defeated fellow city council member and Arab American Suzanne Sareini of the Republican Party.
State Representative-elect George Darany (D).
"Both sides felt it was going to be a lot closer than how it ended up being, everyone predicted it would come down to 1,2, or 3 percentage points but I came out a little over 9 points ahead," Darany said.
Darany, who has been a member of the city council since 2007, attributed his win in large part to his door-to-door campaign in the city as he knocked on more than 17,000 doors city-wide.
And while Republicans had a strong showing in the state elections, Darany benefited in a big way from Democratic straight-ticket voters within the city as just over 61% of all straight-ticket voters went with the Democratic Party compared with just over 37% voting the all-Republican slate.
"I got e-mails from a bunch of people saying that they voted Republican but made an exception for me saying I was the only Democrat they voted for on their whole ticket," Darany said. "I felt we had that crossover appeal; we saw our lawn signs on a lot of homes that also had Rick Snyder lawn signs."
Despite the close loss, Sareini, Dearborn's City Council President Pro Tem, said she wished her colleague luck representing the city in Lansing.
"I'm not upset, I'm grateful and truly blessed because I've got a wonderful family and the best friends and supporters anyone could ask for," she said.
Sareini said she thanked her campaign staff for running a "strong campaign" and putting in a "great effort" after viewing the election night results on Tuesday night.
She said she's excited to work with Snyder, the new governor and fellow party member, but also said that Darany may have his work cut out for him in the spot that is currently occupied by Gino Polidori and covers 47 of the 50 voting precincts of its home base of Dearborn.
"We have two totally different views on politics and George is going to be in the minority party, I think if I would have been elected being in the majority party would have made a huge difference for what we'd be able to deliver to Dearborn, but all I can say is good luck, I truly wish him well" Sareini said.
Sareini said she hasn't had time to think about a future run for a higher office but looks forward to getting back to work for the city council.
"Right now I'm happy to get back to serving my constituents in Dearborn and I thank everybody for their support," she said.
Darany on the other hand is looking forward to starting his new job as state rep.
"I've had a good mentor in (former 15th district rep.) Gary Woronchak and also (Gino) Polidori, two good men behind me who've done a good job in the last 12 years," he said.
Darany said he's contacted the Arab American Chamber of Commerce so far and hopes that he can provide a voice for the Arab American community in the Michigan House of Representatives.
"I know the community is a significant number of Dearborn's population and it's important that their concerns are addressed and I think they know they can count on me for that," Darany said.
"I know it's going to be a challenge being in the minority (party) but I've spoken to other state reps and they're very excited to have there.
"I'm going to jump in with both feet, roll up my sleeves and work hard for the folks in Dearborn and I can't wait."