Dearborn Council Race: Bazzy & O’Donnell Not Running

By Brian Stone

DEARBORN, Mich. — The race for city council is wide open now that Councilmen David Bazzy and Brian O’Donnell are not running for re-election.

With Council President Susan Dabaja running for Mayor, that leaves three seats on council up for grabs, as well as the chance an incumbent could be ousted.

Running for re-election are Michael Sareini, Leslie Herrick, Robert Abraham and Erin Byrnes, all of whom were in the top 6 in the last election and are widely viewed as likely to be re-elected.

It’s unclear why Bazzy and O’Donnell aren’t running, as no press releases or public statements have been made, but political pressures have been on the rise in the last year for both of them.

With a civil rights group, Accountability for Dearborn, increasingly putting pressure on and calling out Bazzy, as well as making disparaging remarks and stating opposition to him, he may have simply decided to bow out rather than face an ugly re-election campaign.

O’Donnell has faced questions in the previous term about his lack of attendance at council meetings, but since his re-election in 2017 his attendance has been on par with the other members of council. However, he’s not known for speaking up, and during Zoom council meetings it’s common for his only verbal remarks to be “Present.

With the race wide-open, it means a seismic shift for the city is underway. With Michael Shooshanian and Thomas Tafelski leaving council in 2017, in 2022 the majority of councilpersons will be starting with one term or less under their belt.

While the political focus from insiders continues to mainly be on Dearborn’s mayoral race –  the first open primary for Mayor since 1985 – the city council race will decide who is setting the budgetary priorities and whether the next mayor’s agenda sails through or gets pushback.