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Xiong, Herzberg advance in Democratic special election primaries

  • Special primary elections in two southeast Michigan state House districts took place Tuesday
  • Mai Xiong, Peter Herzberg win Democratic primaries in 13th and 25th districts, respectively 
  • Winners advance to April general election, where voters’ decisions will break the House’s current 54-54 deadlock

Mai Xiong and Peter Herzberg came out the winners in two southeast Michigan Democratic primaries, advancing to an April 16 general election that could break the tie in the Michigan House. 

Xiong, a Macomb County commissioner, defeated former state Rep. Lamar Lemmons in the 13th District, which covers Warren and part of northeast Detroit. She won 88% of the vote in Warren and 46% of the vote in the district’s Detroit precincts, according to unofficial election results. In third place was Warren resident Suzanne Ostosh.

Herzberg, a Westland City Council member, defeated five other Democratic hopefuls in the 25th District, which covers the cities of Wayne and Westland and part of Dearborn Heights.


Unofficial election results from Wayne County show Herzberg won 35.63% of the vote over fellow Westland City Council member Andrea Rutkowski, who took 29.85% of the vote, and Layla Taha, a health policy analyst and staffer for U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib, who had 21.79%. 

Rutkowski, along with Xiong, had been endorsed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer ahead of the primary. Herzberg was the favorite of former Rep. Kevin Coleman, now Westland’s mayor.

Other candidates in the race included Wayne-Westland Board of Education member Melandie Hines and Shannon Rochon, an environmental justice advocate and political operative. 

Xiong will face Republican Ronald Singer, who won the 13th District Republican primary, in the general special election. Josh Powell, of Westland, is the lone Republican running in the 25th District and advanced to the general election unopposed. 

Both seats lean Democratic, meaning it’s likely that the winners of Tuesday’s Democratic primaries will go on to win the general contests. They were left vacant last year after Coleman and former Rep. Lori Stone resigned to take local mayoral positions. 

Their departures left the state House in a 54-54 tie and were a contributing factor in Democrats’ decision to adjourn early last year. In 2024, legislative action has ground to a halt amid disagreements between Democratic and Republican leadership.

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