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Posted on Tue, Aug 7, 2012 : 9:44 p.m.

Zemke wins primary race for 55th District seat in Michigan House

By Amy Biolchini


Adam Zemke, surrounded by cheering Democratic supporters at Heidelberg in downtown Ann Arbor, declares victory in the 55th District state House primary Tuesday night.

Ryan J. Stanton |

Voters of the 55th District chose Democratic candidate Adam Zemke to fill the party's spot on the November ballot in the race for a seat in the Michigan House of Representatives in Tuesday's primary.

Zemke declared a victory over his opponent, Andrea Brown-Harrison, about 10:15 p.m. Tuesday at a local Democratic party contingent gathering in Ann Arbor after preliminary poll results indicated he was the leader.

Zemke will squaring off against Republican and former Milan Mayor Owen Diaz, as well as Green Party candidate David A. McMahon of Milan in the November general election.

The 55th District seat in the Michigan House is currently filled by Rep. Rick Olson, R-York Township, and is comprised of York, Augusta, Pittsfield and Ann Arbor townships, portions of Ann Arbor and Milan.

Olson did not seek re-election after redistricting changed the political majority of the district from Republican to about 65 percent Democratic.


Zemke about to declare victory Tuesday night as election results trickle in.

Ryan J. Stanton |

In a speech made at the gathering at the Heidelberg in Ann Arbor, Zemke, 29, admitted he was nervous going into Tuesday's primary -- though final results showed he drew 61 percent of the vote.

This is not the first time Zemke's name has appeared on a ballot before Washtenaw County voters.

He ran for the 1st District seat on the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners in 2010 as it was being vacated by Republican Mark Ouimet -- who now serves as a Representative in the Michigan House. Zemke was defeated in the 2010 election by Republican Rob Turner in a 723-vote margin.

"We did all the proper work necessary to run a serious campaign," Zemke said of his 2012 campaign.

He attributed his success in the primary to local Democratic party volunteers and to his manager, Brad O'Conner -- who came from Houston, Tx. to manage Zemke's campaign. The campaign has also made use of a number of volunteers from the college Democrat groups at the University of Michigan and Eastern Michigan University.

Zemke's Democratic challenger Brown-Harrison, a Pittsfield Township trustee, failed to appear at two candidate debates during the primary campaign and has kept a low profile.

She garnered 38 percent of the vote in Tuesday's election. In Augusta Township and portions of York Township, only a few votes separated Zemke from Brown-Harrison.

Planned Parenthood of Michigan and the National Organization of Women both announced their endorsements of Zemke over Brown-Harrison close to the August primary election.

Amy Biolchini covers Washtenaw County, health and environmental issues for Reach her at (734) 623-2552, or on Twitter.


Concerned Constituent

Fri, Aug 10, 2012 : 7:53 p.m.

Hopefully Adam Zemke will be as honest and trustworthy in his new position as he was on the Michigan State Racing Team.

Lac Court Orilles

Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 1:38 p.m.

Zemke will be the poster boy of the the middle class in Michigan which has seen it's schools decimated by massive funding cuts and seniors who's fixed pensions were unfairly taxed to give the wealthy tax breaks.

Basic Bob

Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 3:34 a.m.

Hopefully Mr. Zemke honors his constituents rather than falsely believing he has secured a mandate from fringe Rebekah Warren supporters. Without the benefit of a two-party system or actual contested primaries, these two make a strong case for term limits.