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Republican wave sweeps over northern Michigan

Interlochen Public Radio

Voter turnout in northern Michigan on Tuesday was the highest it has been in at least two decades and Republican voters dominated the election up north. Donald Trump won every county but Marquette and Republican Jack Bergman won a resounding victory in the race for U.S. Congress.

Bergman won Michigan’s 1st Congressional seat by more than 55,000 votes over his Democratic opponent Lon Johnson. In 2012, this race—between different major party candidates—was decided by less than 2,000 votes. The 1st Congressional district includes all of the Upper Peninsula and many counties in northern Lower Michigan.

The Republican surge seemed to trickle down to more local races, where Democrats were mounting challenges to the GOP’s political dominance in the region.

Dan Scripps, an environmental attorney from Northport, hoped to reclaim Michigan’s 101st state house seat. He had represented Leelanau, Benzie, Manistee and Mason Counties in Lansing from 2009 to 2010.

The 101st has been a tightly contested district for the past several elections. This year, Republican Curt VanderWall won a solid victory with about 54 percent of the vote.

VanderWall is a business owner and county commissioner in Mason County. He says he will work on bipartisanship.

“The first thing we need to do is make sure we mend any type of gap that we have between the parties,” he told Interlochen Public Radio.

In Grand Traverse County, strong voter turnout gave Republican Larry Inman a solid win in Michigan’s 104th state house race.

Inman was elected to the office in a tight race against Democrat Betsy Coffia in 2014. His margin of victory was larger in yesterday’s race even with a libertarian candidate, Kelly Clark, taking 2,663 votes.

Peter Payette is the Executive Director of Interlochen Public Radio.