DETROIT (WJBK) - A sitting state senator was defeated in the primary election Tuesday night by a candidate who didn't even campaign. That's an extraordinary story but that's only where it begins.
Betty Jean Alexander pulled the biggest upset in the state of Michigan Tuesday night, beating incumbent David Knezek for the 5th District state Senate primary. She did all this without even really running a campaign.
While she may seem like an unknown, we've done stories on her before. She filed for bankruptcy at one point in her life and was sued for unpaid rent or other debts. We found that information when she was a a candidate for the Detroit school board and, as of November 2016, her address was listed as the same home as Lamar Lemmons and Georgia Lemmons. All three were running for the school board that year.
So now, the woman who didn't always have a house, could end up with a home in the Senate.
"She was never totally homeless because she always had us to depend on," Lamar Lemmons said.
Alexander is Lemmons' sister-in-law. He says he recruited her as a candidate to run in the 5th district primary even though she didn't really run for office, at all.
"She campaigned only through the phones, actually we campaigned for her, she did very little campaigning herself," Lemmons said.
He said she did spend a single penny on the race.
"We were trying to send a message, we didn't necessarily believe that we would win. Make this clear, this was a Hail Mary pass, but even a Hail Mary pass requires you to call the play and throw the ball. And sometimes, just sometimes, the receiver catches the ball," Lemmons said.
Lemmons says Alexander has a government clerical job and is a single mother raising a family. He says she's just like the people she hopes to represent and he says they're going to like her, once they get to know her.
"What they will be pleased with is that she's not beholden to anyone. There's no special interests," he said.
Knezek can still challenge the race by challenging her residency, if he chooses to do so. He said he's considering his next step at this point for his political career.