Other races took surprise twists, with the list of candidates for mayor shifting right up to the last minute, and with what could have been an interesting contest for city clerk turning into no contest at all.
At the center of the intrigue is Councilman Doug Thomas, who filed petitions to run for both mayor and council. However, Thomas’ mayoral petitions were reportedly invalid, so his run for the executive seat appears to be dead in the water. The same can be said for another challenger, Ziad Abdulhamid Abdulmalik, whose petitions were also not in order.
As it currently stands, Mayor John B. O’Reilly Jr. will be challenged by only Michael Prus. The top two vote-getters in the August 4th primary election will advance to the general election ballot November 3rd, so by default it appears to be a fight between O’Reilly and Prus this fall.
Meanwhile, City Clerk Kathy Buda will win her fourth term unopposed, as former clerk John Jay Hubbard withdrew his name from the ballot in that race.
The council race had 25 candidates file by the deadline. Just four years ago, only 15 competed for the seven seats. The field will be reduced to 14 after the primary for the seven seats up for grabs in November.
All incumbent council members are candidates: Tom Tafelski, Nancy Hubbard, Mark Shooshanian, Doug Thomas, Suzanne Sareini, Robert Abraham and George Darany.
Challengers on the ballot are Joseph Agius, David Bazzy, Terry Burke, Khalil Dakhlallah, Patrick Dambrosio, Mark Dawdy, Stephen Dobkowski, Sharon Dulmage, Rabih Hammoud, George Hart, Patrick Kiernan, Scott Marquette, Brian O’Donnell, Ali Sayed, Molly Sharp, Nancy Siwik, Hussein Sobh and Adrenne Wygonik. Today, it was reported that Bradley Hajac, who also hoped to run for a council seat, was eliminated because of problems with his petitions.
More than the sheer numbers, making this year’s council race more competitive than usual are the established names among the challengers, with four former officeholders among them. Bazzy and Dobkowski were elected to the Charter Commission a few years ago, Dulmage is a former longtime school board member and Hart has held the offices of state senator, county commissioner and city councilman. Other politically recognizable names include Wygonik, wife of Judge Richard Wygonik, and Siwik, who finished ninth in the 2005 council election.
The field could’ve been even tougher, but two established names did not file petitions they had taken out: Charter Commissioner Ray Trudeau and Michael Berry, who previous had run for city council and state representative.
Our thanks to Gary Woronchak who compiled and wrote this analysis of Dearborn's upcoming 2009 election exclusively for DearbornNewsOnline.com.