By J. PATRICK PEPPER
DEARBORN — The primary battles here feature some incumbents, some open seats and a group of mostly Democrats.
U.S. House of Representatives
U.S. Rep. John Conyers (D-Detroit) currently is the third longest-serving members of Congress and never has faced a serious electoral challenge since first winning office in 1965.
Political analysts consider the district, which includes east Dearborn, parts of Detroit and several Downriver communities, as one of the “safest” in the country for Democrats.
This year, two Republicans will vie for a shot to knock off the 81-year-old Conyers, with both candidates’ campaigns frequently evoking the fervid anti-incumbent sentiment of many voters.
They are Trenton resident Don Ukraniec, a high school teacher, and Pauline Montie of Southfield.
U.S. House of Representatives
One of only two members who can pull rank on Conyers is U.S. Rep. John Dingell (D-Dearborn), who recently became the longest-serving member in House history.
Dingell also faces no primary challenge and will await the outcome of a four-way Republican race. The most recognizable local candidate is Majed Moughni of Dearborn.
Moughni, an attorney and a Muslim, has raised his profile by supporting causes that have run counter to the conventional wisdom of the local Muslim community, most notably in his outcry against the recent arrest of four Christian missionaries at the Dearborn Arab International Festival in June.
Also in the race are Rob Steele, an Ann Arbor cardiologist, John Lynch of Ypsilanti and Tony Amorose of Southgate.
In Dearborn’s only state Senate race, three Democrats will square off for a chance to face Republican Doug Mitchell in the November general election. The seat is vacant because incumbent Sen. Irma Clark-Coleman (D-Detroit) is term-limited and cannot seek re-election.
The primary candidates feature Michigan Teamsters political director William Isaac Robinson of Dearborn and Detroiters Morris Hood and Mohamed Okdie. Hood is a former state representative for the 11th District. Okdie, an Arab-American, is a former member of the Detroit Board of Police Commissioners and currently serves as an Eastern Michigan University regent.
First-term incumbent David Nathan (D-Detroit) will look to hold off challenges from two fellow Detroiters for this seat, which represents a small portion of northeast Dearborn.
Facing Nathan are Lynette Bowens and Deborah Davis. Bowens has done limited campaigning and filed an affidavit with the state pledging to spend less than $1,000 on her entire campaign. Davis is a grant writer and consultant with a master’s degree in business administration from Davenport University.
With four candidates vying for the Democratic nomination, including several current and former office holders, this race is Dearborn’s most contested. Incumbent Gino Polidori (D-Dearborn) cannot seek re-election because of term limits.
Dearborn City Councilman George Darany will look to parlay his third-place finish in last year’s council elections into a spot in the Legislature. Facing him is current Dearborn Library Commissioner Alex Shami, who previously spent six years on the Dearborn Public Schools Board of Trustees; Stephen Dobkowski, a member of the City Charter Commission in 2006, and Linda Tafelski, a retired DPS teacher and mother of Dearborn City Council President Thomas Tafelski.
The winner will face Republican Dearborn City Council President Pro Tem Suzanne Sareini in the general election.