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Term limits means recycled legislators filling Wayne County state Senate seats

Proponents of term limits have claimed that enacting them would do away with career politicians and better enable ordinary citizens to get elected.

But with six of Wayne County's eight state Senate seats open due to term limits, there is a good chance that each of them will be filled by a current or former state representative, given the results of the Aug. 3 primary.

For the 1st District seat being vacated by Sen. Hansen Clarke (D-Detroit), the Democratic primary was won by state Rep. Coleman Young II, son of former Detroit Mayor Coleman Young, with 8,139 votes (41 percent).  He defeated Lisa Nuszkowski, chief of staff to former House Majority Leader Steve Tobocman, 5,706 (29 percent); former state Rep. LaMar Lemmons III, 3,815 (19 percent); former state Rep. Mary Waters, 1,912 (10 percent); and Dobey Gavin, 179 (1 percent).  Young is considered a shoo-in in this safe Democratic district in the Nov. 2 election over Republican candidate Dakeisha Harwick.

State Rep. Bert Johnson won the Democratic primary for the 2nd District seat being vacated by Sen. Martha Scott (D-Highland Park) with 5,481 votes (35 percent).  The other candidates were Kush Shaqiri, an aide to U.S. Rep. Gary Peters, 2,485 (16 percent); former state Rep. Ken Daniels, 2,286 (15 percent); state Rep. Bettie Cook Scott, 2,258 (14 percent); Rita Smith, 885 (6 percent); Carol Kennedy, 791 (5 percent); Olivia Boykins, an aide to U.S. Rep. John Conyers, 593 (4 percent); Hans Barbe, 403 (3 percent); Tracey Blair, 275 (2 percent); and Steve Smith, 271 (2 percent).  In this safe Democratic district, Johnson is expected to easily win in November over Republican candidate John Chouinard.

With the 3rd District seat being vacated by Sen. Irma Clark-Coleman (D-Detroit), the Democratic primary was won by former state Rep. Morris Hood III with 8,016 votes (45 percent) over William Robinson, 7,168 (40 percent) and Mohamed Okdie, 2,642 (15 percent).  This district is safely Democratic, with Hood expected to have no trouble defeating Republican candidate Doug Mitchell in November.

Former state Rep. Virgil Smith easily won the Democratic primary for the 4th District seat being vacated by Sen. Buzz Thomas (D-Detroit) with 10,313 votes (55 percent), defeating state Rep. George Cushingberry, 5,371 (29 percent); Michael Garrett, 1,584 (8 percent); and Carron Pinkins, 1,434 (8 percent).  Smith is heavily favored in the November election in this safe Democratic district over Republican candidate Frederick Robinson.

Both party primaries were contested for the 8th District seat being vacated by Sen. Raymond Basham (D-Taylor).  Former state Rep. Hoon-Yung Hopgood won the Democratic primary with 7,147 votes (46 percent) over Mike Kell, 4,862 (31 percent) and Sherry Dragone, 3,515 (23 percent).  Ken Larkin won the Republican primary with 6,782 votes (61 percent) over Douglas Reimel, 4,379 (39 percent).  Hopgood is the favorite for November in this safe Democratic district.

The only candidate to win a state Senate primary in Wayne County over a current or former legislator was Patrick Colbeck, an engineer who has never held elected office.  He won the Republican primary for the 7th District seat being vacated by Sen. Bruce Patterson (R-Canton) with 9,293 votes (31 percent) over former state Rep. Deborah Whyman, 8,023 (27 percent); former Plymouth Township Trustee Abe Munfakh, 6,793 (23 percent); and Dan Osterman, 5,513 (19 percent).  This politically marginal district is expected to see a close three-way race in November.  Former state Rep. Kathleen Law is the Democratic candidate, while John Stewart, a former Republican state representative who has aligned with the Democrats in recent years, is running as an independent.  Stewart is expected to caucus with the Democrats if elected.

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