TRAVERSE CITY —
Voters gave Allen O'Shea an early birthday gift.
O'Shea, a Democrat from Copemish, beat opponent Derek Bailey, of Honor, in Tuesday's primary for the 101st state House District. O'Shea now faces incumbent Republican Ray Franz, of Onekama, in November for the chance to represent Leelanau, Benzie, Manistee and Mason counties.
The battle between the two Democrats appeared close much of election night. O'Shea, who turns 70 today, won by a tally of 2,674 to 2,401.
"This is the nicest birthday present I could ever ... get," O'Shea said. "You don't ever want to underestimate an Irish Leo."
He drew big numbers in Manistee County, where he served for eight years as a county commissioner. He also won in Mason County. Bailey, former chairman of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, captured the most votes in Leelanau and Benzie counties.
O'Shea said he's worked hard to develop a plan to preserve and rebuild the district's jobs — a topic he thinks resonated with voters.
"It's not something that I'm verbalizing. It's something that I've done and have a plan," he said. "There's way too much rhetoric about doing something and too few politicians have a plan. I'm going to stand on my plan, and we'll continue to get that to resonate in the community."
Accompanying that campaign message will be a focus on the environment, including clean jobs and energy, O'Shea said.
Bailey said he'll work to unseat Franz.
"We had two strong Democrats running, and really the end goal is to have a Democrat seated back in the 101st seat," he said.
O'Shea, meanwhile, plans little rest before returning to the campaign trail.
"It's a big task, and it's kind of a grassroots-type approach," he said.
TRAVERSE CITY —
Voters gave Allen O'Shea an early birthday gift.
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- Wednesday, November 7, 2012
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- Funding issues leave Division's fate unknown