TRAVERSE CITY — The results for the race for northern Michigan’s congressional district looked much like the rest of the nation in the early Wednesday hours.
Incomplete and favoring the Republican party.
Incumbent Rep. Jack Bergman, R-Watersmeet, held a 30 percent lead on Dana Ferguson at press time (148,000 to 77,000), but Ferguson said he was remaining optimistic with large numbers of mail-in ballots still unreported.
Ferguson, the Democratic candidate from Negaunee challenging Bergman for his seat in Washington, said he was not conceding from the race yet.
“With a lot of mail-in ballots yet to be counted, we’re still remaining optimistic and we look forward to the results coming in,” Ferguson said. “It’s looking like it’s going to be smashing turnout records, which is very encouraging.”
The Associated Press did not project a winner for the race at press time. Bergman said he felt confident voters of the First District would be sending him back to Washington for a third term. He felt that was because voters noticed his staff’s efforts and willingness to work across party lines.
“My number-one priority is to represent everybody in the first district, not just who voted for me,” Bergman said.
Bergman was equally as impressed with the region’s turnout, which for the state was anticipated to be more than 5.2 million.
“The difference between what you would hope for and what you expect — I hope that every eligible American citizen would vote,” said Bergman, the retired U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Gen. “There are men and women that in some cases gave their lives for that right to vote.”
Ferguson said his campaign was watching Grand Traverse County in particular, which had not reported thousands of mail in ballots early Wednesday. Others were Upper Peninsula counties of Houghton and Marquette.
He didn’t think those shortfalls were unique to the 1st District on Election Night.
“We have the number of absentee ballots that are out there and we know that there are quite a few that haven’t been counted,” Ferguson said. “We think they’re going to be heavily in our favor.”
The state isn’t expected to consider results complete until Friday.