The 91st State House has been a swing district over the years, and on Tuesday it swung back to the Democratic Party.
In probably the most hotly contested race, Democratic challenger Colleene Lamonte defeated incumbent Republican Holly Hughes.
Lamonte received 19,256 votes in a race decided by 333 votes in the unofficial count. Hughes gathered 18,923 votes while Libertarian candidate Nick Sundquist received 1,856 votes.
Lamonte, a Muskegon school teacher, commented on her election.
“I am honored by the confidence voters have shown in my ability to represent them in Lansing. I think they are sending two messages here: first, voters are eager for a representative who understands their struggles and concerns. Second, their votes reflect their desire for honesty and integrity in the political process. This election has reaffirmed that.
“And if I may, I’d like to publicly thank my supporters. From start to finish this has been a grass roots campaign supported at every stage of the journey by young students, middle class workers and retirees. They gave donations of $10 and $20, knocked on doors, made telephone calls and hosted coffee hours for their friends and neighbors. This is their victory as much as mine. But I know in my heart I could not have done this without the unfailing love and support of my husband, Jeff and my children.
“To my constituents in the 91st District I’d like to say this: I pledge to you the excellent constituent services you deserve and an open door at my office regardless of whether I earned your vote. Thank you for your trust and confidence. I won’t let you down.”
Lamonte’s referral to honesty and integrity in the political process was to attack campaign mailings funded by the State Republican Party.
“As a candidate, I understand that voters expect a comprehensive review of their candidates records,” said Lamonte (D-Montague) days before the election. “But to cite the unpaid time I used to care for my son while he was wheel-chair bound with a broken leg shows how desperate the Hughes campaign has become to win at any cost.”
The Michigan Republican Party mailing yesterday claimed that Lamonte has “missed 139 days in the classroom” but didn’t highlight that 24 of those days were unpaid sick days, which Lamonte used to care for her son after he broke his leg. The mailing also doesn’t mention that 22 ˝ of those days were for teacher related duties that kept Lamonte away from her classroom such as student and teacher in-service days, field trips, working on curriculum projects or proctoring exams.
“As any teacher or family member of a teacher knows, classroom time isn’t the only time teachers work with their students,” Lamonte said, “Every teacher donates time out of the classroom and school to watch over required exams and attend professional development days. My record of dedication and commitment as a teacher speaks for itself, whereas Hughes is trying to run from her own record of taxing middle class families, seniors and kids.”
Hughes, a longtime activist in the Republican Party who had served on the White River Township Board, the Montague school board, and in key party roles in the state and House District 2, had defeated incumbent Democrat Ben Gillette in 2010 for the seat which represents residents in mainly rural areas of Muskegon County.
Democrat Mary Valentine, another educator, had defeated incumbent Republican David Farhat in 2006. Farhat had won the seat in 2002 when, then 91st District Republican ran a successful campaign for the state senate.
In other federal and state election results.
U.S. President: Muskegon County voters followed the national trend in re-electing Democratic President Barack Obama. They cast 44,436 votes for Obama, while Republican Mitt Romney received 30,882. However, Romney (6,239) was favored over Obama (5,063) in Oceana County.
U.S. Senate: Again, Muskegon County agreed with the entire state in re-electing Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow (45,419) over Republican Pete Hoekstra (27,253), former 2nd District U.S. Representative.
U.S. Representative: Incumbent Republican Bill Huizenga was returned to office in the 2nd District despite Muskegon County voters who favored Willie German, Jr. (35,976) over Huizenga (33,251). The rest of the 2nd District supported Huizenga (194,530) over German (108,957), including Oceana County.
State Representative 92nd District: Democrat Marcia Hovey-Wright retained her seat which represents mainly urban Muskegon County. She received 24,216 votes to just 8,908 for Republican Travis Shepherd.
State Representative 100th District: Republican Jon Bumstead was returned to office in a district which represents Oceana, Newaygo and Lake counties.
In other statewide election results, the winners were:
State Board of Education: Michelle Fecteau and Lupe Ramos-Montigny.
Justices of the Supreme Court: Bridget McCormack, Stephen Markman, Brian Zahra.
3rd District Court of Appeals: Jane M. Beckering, Bill Murphy, Douglas B. Shapiro, Mark T. Boonstra (partial term).
U of M Board of Regents: Mark Bernstein (D), Shauna Diggs (D).
MSU Board of Trustees: Joel Ferguson (D), Brian Mosallam (D).
Wayne State University Board of Governors: Sandra O’Brien (D), Kim Trent (D).