Special election planned in Dearborn to replace lawmaker who became mayor

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  • Abdullah Hammoud
    American politician from Michigan
  • Gretchen Whitmer
    Gretchen Whitmer
    49th governor of Michigan

A special election will be held to fill the state House seat formerly held by Dearborn Mayor Abdullah Hammoud.

Several candidates have already filed paperwork seeking to represent the city of 109,976, which is set to eventually be split into multiple state House districts under redistricting plans.

Hammoud, who was elected mayor in November and took office Jan. 1, was previously the state representative for the 15th District, which includes the city of Dearborn, except for a few precincts in the city's northeast region.

Related: Incoming Dearborn mayor calls for unity, spending cuts amid transition

This week, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced there will be a special primary to fill Hammoud's seat on March 1, followed by a general election May 3. The district leans Democratic.

Map of the 15th state House District in Dearborn, formerly held by Abdullah Hammoud, who is now the mayor of Dearborn. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer called this week for a special election to fill the open seat.
Map of the 15th state House District in Dearborn, formerly held by Abdullah Hammoud, who is now the mayor of Dearborn. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer called this week for a special election to fill the open seat.

Democratic and Republican candidates have until 4 p.m. Friday to file to run, and 4 p.m. Monday to withdraw. Candidates without political affiliation have until Feb. 2 to file and Feb. 7 to withdraw.

“This special election will ensure that Michiganders have a democratically elected representative working for their best interests in our state’s capital," Whitmer said in a statement Monday.

Whitmer sent a letter to Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson calling for the election.

“The Department of State stands ready to work with local and county election officials to implement the special elections this Spring,” Benson said in a statement. “Filling these partial terms before districts change will assist election officials in an orderly redistricting process and 2022 election cycle.”

The partial term will run through the end of the year.

There will also be separate elections this year to fill two-year regular terms, for the 15th District and others. Those will be held in August for the primary and November for the general elections.

Under plans recently approved by Michigan's independent redistricting commission, Dearborn could be split into three separate districts. Candidates who are running to fill the remainder of Hammoud's term could also possibly run this year for a two-year seat.

Related: Michigan's redistricting commission adopts final congressional map for the next decade

More: Detroit lawmakers to sue redistricting commission, allege violation of Voting Rights Act

The candidates who have filed to run and paid the $100 filing fee are Abdullah Alhydary, formerly known as Abdullah Nagi Kaid, and Alabas Farhat, according to Wayne County records. Farhat and Amer Zahr are also listed in state records as having formed campaign committees.

Farhat works for Wayne County Executive Warren Evans' office in government relations and special projects. He said he plans to leave soon in order to run for state representative.

"I'm running to continue the good work started by Mayor Abdullah Hammoud in Lansing," Farhat said.

He said he plans to focus on education, infrastructure and health care, "putting people above interest groups and the corporate bottom line."

Farhat said he has a bachelor's degree in public health from the University of Michigan-Dearborn and is working on his master's in public policy at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.

Alhydary said he is a teacher in language arts in a Dearborn charter school and graduated from Purdue University.

"I had some community leaders who reached out to me and they let me know I would be a great candidate," he said. "I feel like my community is in dire need of some equal representation, to build that bridge between government and community."

Zahr, an attorney and outspoken advocate for Palestinians, couldn't be reached for comment Wednesday.

Dearborn will also have a new congressional representative.

Related: Rep. Rashida Tlaib to run for reelection in new Detroit-Dearborn-Southfield district

U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Dearborn, who currently represents Dearborn, is moving to run in a district west of Dearborn after redistricting affected her district. U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Detroit, announced Wednesday she is running in the newly drawn 12th House District, which includes Dearborn.

Contact Niraj Warikoo: nwarikoo@freepress.com or Twitter @nwarikoo.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Dearborn election to fill House seat left by Abdullah Hammoud

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