PETOSKEY — Suzanne Shumway, a political newcomer from Petoskey, pulled out a close 27-vote race over Jim Martin, of Sault Ste. Marie, to win the Democratic nomination to face incumbent state Rep. Frank Foster, R-Petoskey, in the 107th Michigan House district general election.
Shumway, a professor at North Central Michigan College, defeated Martin, a high school teach at Sault Ste. Marie High School, picking up much-needed votes in swing-counties Mackinac and Cheboygan to maintain a lead that narrowed as Chippewa County votes came in.
Although he didn't concede, citing the close vote, Martin told the News-Review he did not plan to seek a recount.
"I did everything I could do. We did everything we could do," Martin said, emotionally, "... I wish her all the luck in the fall."
Martin cited a large number of voters in the Upper Peninsula voting Republican to weigh in on local races as a contributing factor to his loss.
"It just wasn't meant to be," he said.
Results were slowed because of an issue in a Chippewa County precinct where Martin was expected to pick up votes, which stalled the race at about a 150 vote lead for Shumway. At midnight the final unofficial numbers came in: Shumway had won the four-county race 1,731 to 1,704.
"In a race like this, we both helped each other in terms of getting voters interested in the election and attention to the election, so I want to look at it in a positive light for both of us," Shumway said, speaking by phone at about 1 a.m. "I am very grateful to him. We both made each other run the best campaign we could and I think the voters benefit from that."
Shumway said it was so close at the end, she was ready for anything.
"It could be more exciting, but there is a lot of work that goes into this and I want to say again how grateful I am to Jim for his hard work."
On the whole, Shumway was pleased with the big lead that she got from Emmet County and that she was able to stay competitive in Cheboygan.
The result makes for an interesting below-the-Mackinac-Bridge competition in the fall, pitting a Petoskey Democratic challenger against a Petoskey Republican incumbent.
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