WARREN — It was a predictably close contest and when the dust settled Aug. 5, a mere 19 votes separated the top two Democratic candidates for an open seat representing District 1 on the Macomb County Board of Commissioners.
The race remained close and changed hands as the results came in from the district on the west side of Warren. But Andrey Duzyj, a former three-term member of the board, narrowly defeated Bill Barnwell Jr. in the Democratic primary election.
Duzyj garnered 1,297 votes (36.7 percent) to Barnwell’s 1,278 (36.2 percent). Jeremy Fisher finished third on the Democratic side with 956 votes (27.1 percent).
“It feels pretty good,” Duzyj said the morning after the primary. “I congratulate both Bill Barnwell and Jeremy Fisher on tremendous campaigns. Their hard work made our team work that much harder.”
Duzyj, 59, the owner and president of Trig Tool, Inc., served six years on the board before he was defeated by outgoing Democratic incumbent Toni Moceri in 2009. Moceri opted not to seek re-election this year. He also served on the Warren Planning Commission for nine years and the Warren Tax Increment Finance Authority’s Board of Directors for 12 years.
“I’m humbled and honored that the voters picked me by a very slim margin,” Duzyj said. “I will work my best to have a District 1, Warren and Macomb County go forward and grow, and flourish in the future. It was a good race and it was a barn burner, a nail-biter!”
Barnwell, 33, the senior pastor at the Royal Oak Missionary Church who served on the Warren Senior Housing Commission since 2012, said he had no plans to seek a recount in the narrow race.
“I think it’s probably one of the more historically close elections that we’ve had recently,” Barnwell said. “It certainly doesn’t feel good to be on the outside of the 19 votes. I’m proud of the campaign that I ran. I don’t think there’s much that I could have done differently. I wish Andrew the best and I commend Jeremy on doing a good job.”
Barnwell, who said he ran for election on his own credentials, also thanked his father, former Warren City Council member Bill Barnwell, for his assistance during the campaign.
“He was one of my biggest helpers on this campaign,” Bill Barnwell Jr. said. “I really love him and I’m very thankful for all his help.”
Duzyj will now face Republican challenger Joseph Kozar in November. Kozar ran unopposed in the Republican primary after the recent death of Joe Peters Jr.
Kozar could not be reached for comment at press time.