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LaGrand, Whiteford and Howell win House seats

March 15, 2016

Courtesy of MIRS News Service

Michigan voters Tuesday elected Dave LaGrand (D-Grand Rapids), Mary Whiteford (R-Casco Twp.) and Gary Howell (R- North Branch) to the state House of Representatives in special elections held in the 75th, 80th and 82nd districts, respectively. 

In the 75th District, LaGrand defeated Republican Blake Edmonds with 77 percent to 23 percent. LaGrand replaces Brandon Dillon who resigned last summer to become chairman of the Michigan Democratic Party. 

“I’m gratified by the level of support I got from constituents,” said LaGrand. “I’m excited to work on public policy on the state level and to serve the residents of the district.” 

LaGrand said he is specifically looking forward to working on improving statewide public education, criminal justice reform and environmental protection. 

Whiteford and Howell replace former Reps. Cindy Gamrat and Todd Courser who were forced out of the state House following the bizarre cover-up of their extramarital affair. 

House Speaker Rep. Kevin Cotter (R-Mt. Pleasant) congratulated Whiteford and Howell on their wins. 

“They ran a great campaign on short notice to fill an important vacancy in our chamber,” said Cotter. “These two districts have long needed good, honest and hard-working representatives of the people. With Gary and Mary stepping up to the challenge, I am confident the voices of the 80th and 82nd districts will once again be heard in the state Capitol.” 

Whiteford replaces Gamrat in the 80th district, garnering 63 percent of the vote. Democrat David Gernant nabbed 30 percent and Libertarian Arnie Davidsons got 6 percent with 100 percent of the vote in. 

“I am deeply humbled and thankful for the support everyone has given me over the last seven months,” said Whiteford in a statement. “The responsibility of representing Allegan County in Lansing is something I take very seriously and look forward to working hard on their behalf.” 

The 82nd district seat was held by Courser, which Howell won with 59.5 percent of the vote against Democrat Margaret Guerrero DeLuca who was awarded 36.5 percent. The Libertarian in the race, Tracy Spilker received 5 percent.

“Obviously I’m extremely pleased with the depth and width of victory,” said Howell. “We won by a large margin. I’m looking forward to returning dignified leadership to Lapeer County.” 

Michigan Republican Party chairman Ronna Romney McDaniel also offered her congratulations to Whiteford and Howell. 

“I look forward to watching these exceptional public servants as they work to keep Michigan on the comeback trail,” said McDaniel. “Local residents now have the kind of strong and effective representation in Lansing they deserve.” 

None of the three seats flipped in the special election, returning the House chamber to 63 Republicans and 46 Democrats. Former Rep. Derek Miller’s seat remains vacant, following his appointment to serve as Macomb County treasurer last month. 

Cotter Press Secretary Gideon D’Assandro, said that inaugurations for the new members were not yet set, but would likely be held within a matter of days. 

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