Washtenaw County lost its last Republican representative on Tuesday, when Gretchen Driskell, the former mayor of Saline, defeated state Rep. Mark Ouimet (R–Scio Township) in the race to represent Michigan’s 52nd District in the state House of Representatives.
Driskell earned 52.6 percent of the vote, defeating Ouimet by more than 3,000 votes. She claimed victory after 73 percent of votes had been reported, at which point she led by just 253 votes.
Driskell praised her supporters at a watch party at Weber’s Inn in Ann Arbor.
“We’re here to thank all the supporters that have been helping us to where we are right now,” Driskell said. “We are in a good position. Obviously it’s early in the race and we have hopeful expectations, but most importantly, we want to thank the people that are still here because it could possibly be a very late night.
Driskell commended campaign volunteers for helping her publicize the highly contested campaign.
“I’ve been so impressed by the incredible response that we’ve had in the district by so many people,” Driskell said. “Every single poll we went to there was somebody standing there with a Driskell sign — freezing — but they were there with a smile on their face.”
Following her speech, enthusiastic guests chanted “Gretchen.”
Ouimet spent election night at the Ann Arbor Country Club with Republican supporters, who spent much of the evening watching televisions tuned to Fox News coverage of election returns in the presidential election.
He said his campaign for re-election was focused on informing voters of the progress Michigan has made in the last two years. He added that the county experienced business growth and saw Ouimet’s campaign goals accomplished.
“It was an interesting election,” he said. “We executed our game plan and we started at day C and mapped something out every day that we needed to accomplish and we accomplished all of our objectives and now we just wait and see.”