TRAVERSE CITY — John Roth could be the Republican nominee for Grand Traverse County’s state House of Representatives district.
Votes were still coming in at 12:30 a.m. Wednesday but Roth said he believed he will go on to face Democratic candidate Dan O’Neil, who ran unopposed in the Tuesday primary. Both want to represent the 104th District, which contains Grand Traverse County.
“Our hard work of going door-to-door and being very active with mailers helped a great deal,” Roth said. “Our team just worked very hard and it just paid off.”
Roth had 6,923 votes to Republican opponent Heather Cerone’s 5,221 as of 12:30 a.m. Wednesday, unofficial results show.
Messages to Cerone weren’t returned as of press time Wednesday — Roth said he was grateful to her for pushing him as hard as she did.
Whoever wins Nov. 3 will take over for state Rep. Larry Inman, R-Williamsburg, who’s term-limited. Inman also could face retrial over accusations he attempted to sell his vote after a U.S. District Court jury cleared him in December 2019 of one charge but hung on two more.
Roth said he has a lot of hard work to do for the November race.
“Nothing’s a gimme,” he said. “We’ll work as hard as we did in the primary in the fall.”
Theirs was one of many House primary races, including three more in the northwest Lower Peninsula.
Incumbent Rep. Jack O’Malley, R-Lake Ann, beat challenger Carolyn Cater.
Results weren’t final but O’Malley appeared to have an insurmountable lead late Tuesday, with 86 percent of the vote to Cater’s 13.
O’Malley said he’s always honored when people vote for him and he’ll continue to work hard. He believes he’s kept his promise of putting forth the effort and wants to continue.
“I appreciate the folks in the 101st in the primary saying, ‘Jack, let’s keep you at it and keep you going,’” he said. “Now I hope to do that again in November.”
Cater in a text message congratulated O’Malley and added, “We’ll see you in 2022!”
O’Malley and Democratic candidate Beth McGill-Rizer will face off in the Nov. 3 election. Beth McGill-Rizer beat Cary Urka with 77 percent of the votes to 22 as of late Tuesday.
McGill-Rizer said she’s honored Democratic voters have trust in her and won’t let them, and the rest of her constituents, down. She thanked her campaign team for working tirelessly under unusual circumstances.
“I’m looking forward to a lively general election, and I’m looking forward to an exchange of ideas and solutions and looking to put Michigan back on the road to recovery,” she said.
Urka said he expected Tuesday’s results and did best in Manistee County, where he lives, especially considering he didn’t do any work and with the pandemic hampering his campaign. He said he didn’t believe McGill-Rizer had a chance against O’Malley.
The 101st District contains Benzie, Leelanau, Manistee and Mason counties.
Daire Rendon, R-Lake City, the incumbent for the 103rd District, beat challenger Gary Stefanko, with nearly 68 percent of the vote to Stefanko’s 32 and most precincts reporting by early Wednesday.
Rendon said she’s happy to be running as a Republican in the fall, and while she’s proud of accomplishments like reforming auto insurance, there’s a lot more to be done, like getting kids back to school, getting businesses reopened and moving Michigan beyond the “step back” it took during the pandemic.
“We’re going to need all hands on deck, and I think I have the experience to help get us there,” she said.
A message for Stefanko wasn’t returned as of press time Wednesday.
Zach Larson, the Democratic candidate, was unopposed in the primary.
The 103rd district contains Crawford, Kalkaska, Missaukee, Roscommon and Ogemaw counties.
Ken Borton appeared to win a three-way race for the Republican nomination to run for the 105th District.
Borton faced Tony Cutler and Jimmy Schmidt, and Borton had 58 percent of the vote by midnight Tuesday to 33.5 percent for Cutler and 8 percent for Schmidt as of 12:30 a.m. Wednesday with results still coming in.
Borton said he was humbled by the results and thanked his opponent for running a clean race. He thanked his volunteers for their efforts as well.
“I’m looking forward to November, I’m looking forward to the first of the year when I can actually get down to Lansing and get to work and make sure Lansing knows exactly where northern Michigan is,” he said.
Cutler in a text said he’s disappointed by big spending by political action committees in Borton’s favor, and thinks it reflects negatively not on Borton but on dark money’s influence in politics. Cutler was grateful for the support and endorsements he received.
Borton acknowledged Americans for Prosperity sent out mailers for him, but not through any coordination with his campaign — they wouldn’t even take his thank-you call, he said.
He’ll face Jonathan Burke, the Democratic candidate who was unopposed in the primary, come November. Whoever wins will replace Rep. Triston Cole, R-Mancelona, who’s term-limited and challenged Antrim County’s Sheriff Dan Bean in the primary.
Messages for Schmidt weren’t returned as of press time Wednesday.
The 105th District contains Antrim, Charlevoix, Montmorency, Oscoda and Otsego counties.
Record-Eagle reporter Andrew Rosenthal contributed to this report.