Traverse City Record-Eagle

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October 31, 2013

Estes to stay in race

TRAVERSE CITY — Michael Estes will leave his future in the hands of voters following his arrest on a drunken driving charge.

Estes asked for forgiveness and indicated he does not plan to resign during a brief press conference at the governmental center Wednesday morning. He was widely favored to win re-election to a third term on Nov. 5 prior to his arrest.

“I apologize for my actions and I can only say with the grace of God, the support of my friends and family, nothing similar to this will ever happen again,” Estes said.

Estes refused to answer any questions or elaborate on his actions prior to his arrest, which occurred as he headed home from a candidate forum.

Despite Estes’ refusal to offer specifics, his statement and apology appeared to be well received by area officials interviewed by the Record-Eagle. His opponent on the ballot, Rick Buckhalter, expects Estes to be re-elected.

“You can feel the political wheels moving,” Buckhalter said.

Several area voters said, though, they had mixed emotions about Estes and his arrest.

“I’m glad he apologized and I’ll probably vote for him ... as long as he makes sure he has it under control,” said resident Alice Hansen.

Voter David C. Berg II said he believes Estes should have resigned.

“People say he’s a great guy, but I just don’t think it is right,” Berg said. “I don’t think it’s respectful. I don’t think it’s responsible. His time is done.”

Estes, 63, was arrested Oct. 23 and charged with first-offense drunken driving. Estes said he made a “serious mistake” that is an embarrassment to his family, friends, and the citizens of Traverse City. He said he plans to attend Monday’s city commission meeting, then wait for voters to cast the final ballot the following day.

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