Close races, new mayors and a ‘win for socialists’: A roundup of Michigan election results

State Rep. Sheldon Neeley | Derek Robertson
Updated and corrected, 5:09 a.m.

Michigan will see new faces in mayoral offices for some of the largest cities in the state. And some races in Tuesday’s off-year general election were as close as a fraction of a percent difference between candidates.

Karen Weaver

One of the biggest upsets was in Flint. During the aftermath of the Flint water crisis, Mayor Karen Weaver lost re-election by less than 2%, according to to the Genesee County Clerk’s Office unofficial results. State Rep. Sheldon Neeley (D-Flint), long-critical of Weaver’s tenure as mayor, challenged the seat and won. On Wednesday afternoon, he received a round of applause from his House colleagues for his victory.

Livonia got its first female mayor in an airtight election. The interim CEO of Catholic Charities of Southeast Michigan, Maureen Miller Brosnan, cinched 50.23% against GOP former state Sen. Laura Toy, who had 49.55%, according to the Wayne County Clerk’s Office unofficial results.

Not all the mayoral elections were so close. Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss was re-elected in a landslide, earning 83.88% against the Rev. Daniel Schutte, who had 15.83%, according to the Kent County Clerk’s Office unofficial results. As the first female to hold the office of mayor in her city, Bliss has held the position since 2016.

In a closely watched race in what could be a 2020 bellwether, East Grand Rapids Mayor Amna Seibold received 39.31% of vote, while challenger Katie Favale won on a change platform with 60.54%. Seibold sported support from state Reps. Mark Huizenga (R-Walker) and Lynn Afendoulis (R-Grand Rapids Twp.), state Sen. Peter MacGregor (R-Rockford) and several mayors in the region. Favale earned the backing of five of six city commissioners and state Sen. Winnie Brinks (D-Grand Rapids).

Heated mayoral race busts through East Grand Rapids ‘bubble’

Jim Fouts will serve a fourth term as mayor of the Southeast Michigan city of Warren after securing 57.5% over his opponent, Council Member Kelly Colegio, who took 42.5%, according to the Macomb County Clerk’s Office unofficial results.

Jim Fouts | Facebook

Several recordings of Fouts allegedly degrading women, disabled people and African Americans have surfaced throughout his tenure. The Detroit Free Press reports Colegio, a former assistant to Fouts, ran because she was “concerned with the direction the city is going in as far as economic growth, some crime issues and hateful rhetoric we’ve heard in the news — things the mayor has allegedly said.”

Ingham County saw a few close elections for City Council positions in both Lansing and East Lansing.

Jody Washington lost re-election for her 1st Ward seat to economist Brandon Betz, 45.39% to 54.61%. Betz took to Twitter Wednesday to thank the Lansing chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America for supporting a “win for socialists.”

“We won! Thanks @LansingDSA for your hard work, volunteers, and time spent ensuring that we can continue to make our little corner of the world better for every single person who lives here. This is the first of many wins for socialists in Lansing. We did it!”

Washington’s son, Adam Hussain, ran unopposed for re-election to represent Lansing’s 3rd Ward. City Council members Carol Wood and Patricia Spitzley were re-elected, according to the Ingham County Clerk’s Office unofficial results.

East Lansing City Council elections could be up in the air after the county clerk’s office reported Mark Meadows squeaked his way back onto City Council by two votes over fellow incumbent Erik Altman. Jessy Gregg and Lisa Babcock were elected onto the council.*

* This story has been corrected to reflect that Gregg and Babcock are not incumbents.