Incumbents Wittenberg, Zack, Woodward move on to November election

By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published August 8, 2018

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OAKLAND COUNTY — The August primary election has come and gone, and Democratic incumbents Robert Wittenberg, Helaine Zack and Dave Woodward spoke to the Woodward Talk about their primary victories.

State Rep. Wittenberg defeated challenger Michelangelo Fortuna III in the Democratic primary race for the Michigan House seat in the 27th District. The incumbent Wittenberg received 15,081 votes, approximately 84 percent of the vote, while Fortuna III took in 2,913 votes, approximately 16 percent of the vote.

Wittenberg said Aug. 8 that he felt good about his victory the previous night.

“I’m most excited about the turnout,” he said. “It was unbelievable to see so many people get to the polls to make their voices heard. To me, that was the best thing about yesterday.”

Wittenberg is running for what would be his third and final term as a state representative, as term limits allow a maximum of three two-year terms.

“Obviously, I was happy to win and I’m excited to be the nominee for the Democrats for the 27th District come November,” he said. “With the turnout, I think people are engaged more so than they’ve been in a long time. I think 2016 was an election that woke people up, and people … hopefully no longer take (voting) for granted. So, I hope this is a sign of things to come in November.”

In the Nov. 6 election, where he’ll be running against Republican Janet Flessland and Libertarian Benjamin Carr, who both ran unopposed in the primary, Wittenberg said he feels that his chances are good about securing one more term.

“I think I’ve done the best I can do to really serve the community and be a voice for them, and help them with any kind of constituent services. I think I’ve positioned myself really well to get through November and serve for my third term,” he said.

In the county commissioner race in the 18th District, Zack defeated challenger Ruel E. McPherson, 8,711 votes to 1,982. She received approximately 81 percent of the vote to McPherson’s approximately 18 percent.

“I am very happy and very grateful to the over 8,000 people who voted for me,” she said.

Zack is running for her ninth term as county commissioner. She’ll go up against Republican nominee Steven Zimberg, who won his primary contest against Allen Majorovic. He received 1,149 votes to Majorovic’s 585.

Zimberg said the win was a “step in the right direction.”

“Now will be the challenging part,” he said. “It is a predominantly Democratic community in our district, and (Zack) is an eight-time incumbent and she has a lot more financial resources, but I think the opportunity to express myself and my feelings in a public platform is priceless, and I think that if people will take the time to learn about the candidates, including myself, I think they’ll learn a lot.”

Zack feels good about her chances to be elected again in November, but said “you never know until you know,” as she cited gerrymandering as creating a partisan district.

“I feel good about my personal win, but I’m certainly disappointed that my colleague, David Bowman, did not win,” she said. “He’s been a really terrific public servant, and I’m very disappointed he lost his primary, and there were some other congressional races that didn’t go the way I want, but I’m thrilled about our gubernatorial candidate (Gretchen Whitmer).”

Bowman was defeated in the Oakland County Board of Commissioners District 10 Democratic primary by Angela Powell. 

For the county commissioner race in the 19th District, incumbent Dave Woodward beat challenger Devin Bone. Woodward took in 7,654 votes to Bone’s 2,091 while securing 78.3 percent of the vote.

Woodward said he’s grateful for the voters’ continued support. He now will go against Republican challenger Michael Ryan, who ran unopposed in the primary.

“I am emboldened based on the turnout in this last election, and I think there’s going to be a lot of opportunity to shift the balance of power to better help the things we’ve campaigned on, and that’s about making Oakland County a place that works for everyone and not just a few,” he said.

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