Hoadley, Meijer and Aiyash. Photos courtesy the candidates.
Hoadley, Meijer and Aiyash. Photos courtesy the candidates.

From nail-biters and blow-outs in Congressional primaries to a Legislature race still not called, here’s what we found most surprising Wednesday morning.

MICHIGAN — Michigan’s record-shattering turnout for its Aug. 4 Primary Election did not stop counties like Kalamazoo from finishing preliminary counts in the early morning hours Wednesday. That was just one of a few surprises brought by the election. 

Some races were nail-biters, some were blow-outs, some remain uncalled the next morning. Some races The ‘Gander highlighted on election day, some races took us by surprise. We break down some of the surprises, stories and winners from Tuesday night. 

Hoadley Wins Democratic Primary in the 6th Congressional District

The victory of Democrat Jon Hoadley was a rollercoaster as his primary opponent, Jen Richardson, gave him a run for his money. Hoadley currently serves in the Michigan House representing Kalamazoo.

Hoadley came to Kalamazoo in 2009 as part of the team working to pass the city’s LGBTQ nondiscrimination ordinance, OneKalamazoo. His efforts were ultimately successful, passing the city’s civil rights initiative. 

READ MORE: This Michigan State Rep. Is Holding Trump Accountable for Slow Coronavirus Recovery

“On a personal note thank you for letting me into your community, and welcoming me back to Michigan,” the South Dakota native wrote when announcing OneKalamazoo’s victory. “The campaign is wrapping up and we’ll be closing our doors soon, but Kalamazoo is a better place because of what you’ve done.”

Focusing on serving Kalamazoo politically, both managing campaigns for causes like OneKalamazoo and working for candidates like Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Bridget Mary McCormack has been Hoadley’s driving force since he came to the city a decade ago.

“I believe we should be putting people and communities at the center of decisions,” Hoadley said in a video message as polls opened Tuesday. “Of course, in Lansing I’ve championed our values on issues like health care, the environment, equality, and choice. And I would be honored to continue to do so, for you, as a member of Congress.”

Meijer Wins Republican Primary in the 3rd Congressional District

The hotly contested seat vacated by Libertatian congressman Justin Amash wasn’t nearly as close as The ‘Gander expected. Peter Meijer, scion of the Michigan-based grocery store chain, got almost double the votes of the next most successful candidate. 

Meijer capitalized on strong name recognition thanks to the popular grocer, strong fundraising thanks to supporters like the DeVos family, and strong ties to the city of Grand Rapids.

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He also ran as a middle ground between ardent supporters of President Donald Trump and Amash, who famously left the Republican Party because of disapproval of Trump. His opponents criticised him for his distance from the president.

“Peter Meijer is the definition of a Never Trump Republican,” Cooper Mohr, campaign manager of Meijer’s top opponent Lynn Afendoulis told MLive

Meijer’s campaign has pushed back on that narrative, saying that while he won’t be a “rubber stamp” for Trump he hopes to work with the White House on issues like truly ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

Aiyash Projected to Win the Democratic Primary in Michigan’s 4th House District

In a race that remains too close to call, Abraham Aiyash has emerged as the likely winner from a pack of thirteen Democratic candidates. If he wins, Aiyash will likely replace former state Rep. Isaac Robinson who died of a suspected case of the novel coronavirus in March. 

When he was just 13, Aiyash met Robinson and was inspired by the late legislator to pursue a career in local politics. 

“Abraham and Isaac!” Robinson would say to Aiyash. “My biblical brother!”

SEE ALSO: “A Huge Heart, A Quick Wit”: Remembering The Spectacular Life Of Isaac Robinson, A Champion For Working Families

Aiyash is dedicated to continuing the work of his “biblical brother” in the Michigan Legislature, and to representing his district — especially Hamtramck.

“Not to overlook any of the other important parts of the district, but Hamtramck has a unique position in that it’s a space for immigrants to come and settle and oftentimes establish their roots,” Aiyash told the Arab American News. “It’s a chance to have a reflective democracy in that respect.”

He also said his friend Robinson will be sorely missed, thanks to Robinson’s ability to represent a diverse district and advocate for policies like social, economic, and environmental justice. If elected, he knows the large void he will have to fill.