BY BRIAN McGILLIVARY
TRAVERSE CITY — Republican state Rep. Wayne Schmidt, cruised to an easy victory over his Democratic challenger in Michigan's 104th House District.
Democrats overall polled from 40 to 45 percent in Grand Traverse County and challenger Betsy Coffia could not pull any closer against Schmidt. Voters said they like the job Schmidt had done and he credited his willingness to work with different groups in the district.
"I think I've done a good job representing the interests of the 104th District," Schmidt said. "I've been someone who a variety of groups can come to with their issues."
Schmidt said he's broken with his party on environmental issues, supported tourism through funding of the Pure Michigan campaign, and helped secure extra funding for Traverse City and Kingsley schools.
"I like Schmidt. I think he's done a good job for us," said Lynn Starkey of Acme Township.
Terry Hanson of Acme voted for Coffia, but had no complaints about Schmidt.
"Wayne's done a good job, but we need some new blood," Hanson said.
Coffia refused to accept political action money or large donations, and railed against the influence of special interest money in politics. She relied on a grass roots, word-of-mouth campaign and social networking on the Internet.
Her campaign resonated with Tammy Peck of Acme.
"I just like the way she does things and I think she has some good ideas," Peck said.
Coffia did not immediately return messages seeking comment.
Schmidt complimented Coffia on her race and said it kept him on the campaign trail.
"We kept out there and we kept hustling," Schmidt said. "I'm very humbled and pleased I can represent for a third and final term my home town in Lansing."