Michigan primary results: Rashida Tlaib cruises, Peter Meijer wins big

As of about 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, about 1.6 million voters had cast absentee ballots in Michigan’s primary, the first major election during the coronavirus pandemic. The previous record for absentee ballots was 1.27 million in the 2016 general election and Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson estimates 3 million could be submitted this November. (Shutterstock photo)

Related: GOP’s advantage wanes in last year of Michigan ‘historical’ gerrymander

LANSING — Michigan primary election results — and the potential makeup of the state’s next congressional delegation -- took shape Wednesday as clerks continued to work through a statewide absentee ballot surge that broke records amid the coronavirus pandemic.

While Wayne County was still processing results, U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Detroit, cruised to victory in her closely watched primary rematch against City Council President Brenda Jones. With 90 percent of precincts reporting, the progressive Tlaib had received nearly twice as many votes as Jones, a former union leader. The district is one of the most reliably Democratic in the nation, which means the winner is all but guaranteed a second term.

In the eastern Michigan Thumb region, Republican businesswoman Lisa McClain of Bruce Township narrowly defeated state Rep. Shane Hernandez in a primary that will likely decide who replaces retiring Rep. Paul Mitchell in the reliability GOP 10th Congressional District.

Rashida Tlaib

Rashida Tlaib at a Detroit protest last year. On Wednesday morning, the Democratic U.S. representative appeared headed to victory in her closely-watched 13th District rematch against Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones. (Shutterstock)

Peter Meijer, a Grand Rapids Township veteran whose family founded the eponymous grocery store chain, won big in a five-way GOP primary in west Michigan’s 3rd Congressional District.

He enters the general election as a favorite to succeed U.S. Rep. Justin Amash, who left the Republican Party last year and is not seeking re-election. Meijer will face Democratic immigration attorney Hillary Scholten in a district that is no longer the conservative stronghold it once was but still leans GOP.

Elsewhere, former Trump administration immigration official Paul Junge of Brighton declared victory in the four-way 8th Congressional District primary to take on Democratic Rep. Elissa Slotkin, but with only 74 percent of precincts reporting by Wednesday afternoon, the Associated Press had still not called the race.

Likewise, Birmingham attorney Eric Esshaki appeared poised to win the 11th District GOP primary to take on Democratic Rep. Haley Stevens, but with 86 percent of precincts reporting, the AP had stopped short of calling the race.

In southwest Michigan’s 6th Congressional District, Democratic state Rep. Jon Hoadley of Kalamazoo notched a narrow win over Jen Richardson to advance to the general election against incumbent Republican Rep. Fred Upton.

In other closely watched races:

  • Progressive challenger Karen McDonald clobbered Oakland County Prosecutor Jessica Cooper, winning nearly twice as many votes as the incumbent in the Democratic primary. McDonald will face Republican Lin Goetz in the general election.
  • Oakland Executive Dave Coulter defeated outgoing Treasurer Andy Meisner by 8 percentage points in the Democratic primary. He’ll face Republian Mike Kowall, a former state lawmaker, in the general election race for the county’s top post. 
  • Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy appeared to fend of progressie challenger Victoria Burton-Harris. With 89 percent of precincts reported, Worthy had a commanding lead.
  • In Detroit, where he moved last year, Democrat Shri Thanedar won a crowded 3rd District state House primary two years after losing his bid for governor. Thanedar spent more than $10 million of his own money in 2018 and followed that up by pouring more than $440,000 into his state House race through July 19. 
  • State Rep. Karen Whitsett, a Detroit Democrat who has praised GOP President Donald Trump for touting hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19, fended off a strong challenge from Roslyn Ogburn.

Results were still trickling in Wednesday afternoon in some parts of the state after clerks were crushed by a wave of absentee ballots. 

“As this is an unprecedented election, with increased absentee voter participation, there is no way to anticipate what time the final election results will be reported,” Wayne County Clerk Cathy Garrett cautioned Tuesday. 

As of 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, around 1.6 million people voted absentee in the primary, the first major statewide election since the coronavirus pandemic hit Michigan. The previous record for absentee ballots was 1.27 million in the 2016 general election, and Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson estimates 3 million could be submitted in the November presidential election.

Absentee ballots take longer to process than traditional ballots, and election workers weren’t allowed to begin counting them until the polls open,

The policy has been the source of debate in Lansing, where several proposals to allow early processing or counting of ballots have stalled in the Legislature. Officials expected higher numbers of absentee voters even before the pandemic due to a 2018 law that implemented no-reason absentee voting. 

Benson has been vocal in supporting legislation that would allow ballots to be processed before Election Day and warned that Tuesday’s delayed results could be a harbinger of worse to come in November should no change be made. Republicans have worried such bills could invite fraud.

Benson said there were no reports of long lines or crowded polling places. However, multiple polls experienced staffing issues due in part to workers' concerns over coronavirus. 

The Secretary of State's office sent 80 volunteers to polling places on Tuesday, including 50 in Detroit, to meet that need. Three polling places in Detroit and one in Flint opened late due to staffing problems. Benson said her office plans to have about 300 volunteers prepared to supplement polling places with last-minute staffing needs on Election Day in November.

By Tuesday evening, approximately 400,000 absentee ballots sent out still hadn’t been returned. Benson said it was unclear how many of those voters filled out and sent back but will reach clerks after Election Day, which means they won’t be counted. In March, 4,600 ballots were rejected because they reached clerks after polls closed. 

Despite assurances from the U.S. Postal Service and state elections officials that ballots are expedited over regular mail, voters and clerks have been reporting issues with postal service delays due to policy changes aimed at cutting costs.

Benson urged the Legislature to approve a bill that would allow votes that are postmarked by Election Day to count, as 12 other states and Washington, D.C. already allow.

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Comments

Not my values
Wed, 08/05/2020 - 8:27am

Time to think twice about shopping at Meijer.

Kathi Geukes
Wed, 08/05/2020 - 11:10am

LOL!!!!!

Meow
Wed, 08/05/2020 - 8:41am

Lovin' the cat fight in the Thumb! McClain, Hernandez battle in 10th District GOP primary

https://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/local/michigan/2020/08/04/10th-di...

While the candidates fight vociferously over which supports Trump more and there seemed to be a coronation of Hernandez by Mitchell , McClain is in the lead. Makes you wonder why Mitchell left if he really loves Trump so much.....

Poor thing, McClain got so much grief for not loving Trump enough in TV ads despite her insistence that she does love Trump. Just goes to prove that with today's GOP, you can never love Trump enough.

It will be impossible to please constituents no matter which candidate wins, especially come fall when Trump LOSES biggly. LOL

Horrific times for our country, but great times for political junkies and comedians, if you can compartmentalize your logic and emotions.

Just sayin'
Wed, 08/05/2020 - 8:45am

Looking great for all the Democrats I picked. Big blue wave this November, please God! We need another Obama-like peace and serenity again. We have suffered enough.

SJG
Wed, 08/05/2020 - 9:37am

The world will be a better place when people decide to treat people the way they want to be treated. Social media is not social at all. It has allowed the worst in people to emerge because you can hide behind a curtain of anonymity. Social norms such as courtesy and kindness does not have a D or an R attached to it. Think before you write, this has nothing to do with who is in office, it has everything to do with who is in your heart.

LMAO
Wed, 08/05/2020 - 11:24am

Yet you like "grab 'em by the p_____" Trump! Sorry, four years of GOP sycophants means you have dirty hands and NO moral high-ground. Now you have to live with the consequences. Your reap what you sow.

Wow
Wed, 08/05/2020 - 11:27am

SJG, really? You found that post so offensive? Someone has very very thin skin.

LMAO
Wed, 08/05/2020 - 3:06pm

Just wait until SJG finds out "the squad" will have a few more members! Hee Hee

George Hagenauer
Wed, 08/05/2020 - 9:46am

You don't want to start counting ballots early not because of fraud but because of leaks similar to you don't want pollsters declaring early who won the election - But I still remember "Dewey beats Truman". Declarations this early that the Democrats will win big frankly scare me given the money and resources the Republicans have and the inability to do grassroots organizing in areas not served by the internet- a key strategy in many Democratic wins.

Kathi Geukes
Wed, 08/05/2020 - 11:14am

Calm down....elections are more secure now than they have ever been. Not worried about leaks....they still can't guess the outcome until every vote is counted!! And the Dems have as much money as the Repubs.....

Dancing on Sunshine
Wed, 08/05/2020 - 3:01pm

Well, if the 99% give just one dollar, of course they'll have a ton of money, but more importantly than money is the vote. We only need a mere 40% of the 99% to actually vote and we will whip GOP butt. We the People will make it happen because We said no more gerrymandering and no reason mail-in voting for everyone! THAT's what We the People call DEMOCRATIC representation. Funny thing is that Trump is so bad even some of the 1% hate him. LOL

middle of the mit
Wed, 08/05/2020 - 10:06am

[[[Absentee ballots take longer to process than traditional ballots, and election workers weren’t allowed to begin counting them until the polls open.

The policy has been the source of debate in Lansing, where several proposals to allow early processing or counting of ballots have stalled in the Legislature.

Benson has been vocal in supporting legislation that would allow ballots to be processed before Election Day and warned that Tuesday’s delayed results could be a harbinger of worse to come in November should no change be made. Republicans have worried such bills could invite fraud.]]]

See that last sentence? Republicans see fraud EVERYWHERE! I wonder how they vote and I wonder how they sleep at night.

https://politicalwire.com/2020/08/04/trump-says-mail-voting-safe-and-sec...

He says this because Florida has been run so well by two Republican Governors. LOL!

https://miami.cbslocal.com/2020/08/04/exclusive-governor-ron-desantis-ac...

LOL!!! Watch as one Great Governor throws the other Great Governor under the bus!

How about letting absentee voters vote a week or two early by putting their own ballot in the machine themselves?

FRAUD ALERT!

LOL!!!

Giddy
Wed, 08/05/2020 - 3:08pm

YES! Correction: Republicans have worried such bills could invite DEFEAT.

Richard
Wed, 08/05/2020 - 10:21am

I have never seen so much crap over absentee ballot counting in my life! I have been a township clerk for 24 years and we have never reported election results past election day, and do you know why? Because we plan accordingly for the amount of absent voter ballots and have enough staff on hand to process them properly. There is no excuse for any jurisdiction to not be ready for the onslaught of AV ballots! And the Secretary is way off base with her "open before election day" crap and her insistence that ballots postmarked by election day be counted-no matter when they show up! Nonsense!

Anonymous
Wed, 08/05/2020 - 3:09pm

So which rich community was that where you worked as city clerk? My guess is not in Florida.

Reality check
Wed, 08/05/2020 - 3:16pm

Just google "poor people waiting in line to vote", sometimes 8-10 hours!!!! They tend to live in marginalized communities of color. Justice delayed is justice denied. Imagine how many people just can't wait that long and leave. That crap never happens in white communities. I know, I'm white and have lived/voted in different communities.

Little Light of Mine
Wed, 08/05/2020 - 5:11pm

No more in Michigan! We have no-reason mail-in ballots we can mail or insert in our city clerk dropbox. Couldn't be easier or safer. Such a relief. We Shall Overcome.

Times are a changin'
Wed, 08/05/2020 - 8:32pm

Poor Richard, get a grip. You've never seen anything like this and it's just a primary:

Tuesday’s election broke previous records for the number of absentee ballots received, even before the election.

More than 1.28 million absent voter ballots had been cast as of Monday morning, breaking the record November 2016 General Election’s record of 1.27 million