TRAVERSE CITY — With each ballot finally counted, First Congressional District candidate Dana Ferguson netted a decisive victory against opponent Linda O’Dell in the largest Michigan district’s Democratic primary.

Ferguson earned 64 percent of Tuesday’s vote. O’Dell, running on fairly similar platforms, ended the night with 36 percent of the tally.

Ferguson, an Upper Peninsula native who got his start working at his father’s small business near Marquette, shared confidence as more and more votes were tallied in his favor Tuesday evening.

He feels his blue-collar background and understanding of his community’s day-to-day hardships are what earned him the win.

“It’s about listening. It’s about understanding the issues people face on a daily basis,” Ferguson said late Tuesday, as anxious watching and page-refreshing gave way to celebration.

His biggest hopes going forward are to inspire change in his community and supply Upper Peninsula residents with better lives and more opportunities.

Now, Ferguson has sights set on his next opponent — incumbent Congressman Jack Bergman, a Watersmeet-based Republican. They’ll face off in November’s election.

Ferguson said he’s unfazed and plans to employ the same simple, honest strategy he used in the primary — connecting with his voters.

O’Dell did not return multiple comments about the race results Tuesday and Wednesday.

See more election results at

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