Hundreds of people gathered at Dearborn Manor Tuesday night to await the city’s mayoral primary results and cheered as State Rep. Abdullah Hammoud emerged as the winner of the Dearborn mayoral primary.
Among those in the crowd was his former rival now turned supporter Jim Parrelly.
“We came here to congratulate Abdullah Hammoud on a truly historic victory. I think this is truly the beginning of a new era in the city.” –Jim Parrelly, Dearborn mayoral candidate
“We came here to congratulate Abdullah Hammoud on a truly historic victory. I think this is truly the beginning of a new era in the city,” he said, noting that a city that once voted for Orville Hubbard, the former mayor known for his racist views, could possibly have its first Arab American mayor if Hammoud wins in November.
“Today we’re electing a mayor who is the son of a Muslim immigrant,” he said.
Hammoud garnered 42% of the vote in a field of seven candidates, surpassing Gary Woronchak, the second top vote-getter, by a wide margin. Woronchak had 18.45% of the vote.
“When you win by these kinds of margins, and you have his network and his campaign, it would be a very difficult task to try to beat him in the fall. And so that’s why I’m here, I’m here to congratulate him and as a resident of the community, try to see how I can help him,” said Parrelly, who received 3.49% of the vote.
As for what’s next, Parrelly, a businessman, says he’ll go back to focusing on business as well as offering “advice and counsel” to Hammoud.
Speaking around 11:30 p.m. Tuesday, Hammoud attributed his victory to his response to recent flooding after heavy rains this summer, including the June 25-26 storm that dumped 6 inches of rain on the area in a few hours. Hammoud says his team suspended campaigning to help residents.
“This is about doing what we would want others to do for our parents and for our families if we weren’t around. And that’s what our flood response was, going to people’s homes, helping them clear out debris, helping to bring nonprofits to their homes to decontaminate the mold and such. It wasn’t a campaign thing. It was about working for [Dearborn].”
Hammoud said he looks forward to joining forces with other candidates to seal the win in November.
“I’d like to take this opportunity and ask that we come together and that we unite, that we move Dearborn forward together, that we can collectively build the Dearborn that we all know our residents deserve because that’s why we’re running. We’re running because we believe we can tackle the tough issues.”
Hammoud said residents want change when it comes to property taxes, poor air quality and reckless driving.
Amer Zahr, a comedian and law professor who supported his friend Parrelly for mayor, said it was “a historic night in Dearborn.”
“There’s never been an Arab American mayor … there’s only been once there’s been an Arab American finalist,” said Zahr, who is Arab American.
“To see the preliminary results tonight shows that the youth of Dearborn and the Arab American youth especially of Dearborn came out.
“What Abdullah Hammoud has achieved here tonight is historic, not just in Dearborn, but throughout America. … Dearborn is the capital of Arab America and now it looks like we might have our first Arab mayor.”