LANSING – Despite a strong lead in the polls, Republican secretary of state candidate Terri Land would not declare an early victory last night. As of 2 a.m., Democratic candidate Melvin Butch Hollowell had made no signs of concession, postponing Land’s speech even later into the night.

Land campaign manager John Yob said Land was holding out until more “hard numbers” came in before claiming victory.

Land said she was waiting for numbers from Wayne County to come in before she made any formal declaration of victory. Land, from Byron Center, said her time as Kent County clerk made her patient because she understood the responsibilities of counting ballots and making sure totals were correct.

“We really need those numbers before we can say anything,” Land said.

Yob said the preliminary poll results looked great. “They’ve come in just as we had hoped.”

He added the numbers showed Land exceeded expectations.

“We’re running ahead of our projections across the state,” he said, adding that despite a long, late night, Land and her supporters still felt hopeful about the election results.

Land said her race was a two-year ordeal, but she added she enjoys the political process and elections.

“It was an exciting campaign,” she said, adding her main goal was to simply get through the night.

Although Hollowell, a Detroit attorney, challenged Land on issues and refrained from mud-slinging during the campaign, preliminary results indicate that he failed to win the majority of voters over with his ideas for reforming Michigan’s voting system and branch office services.

Despite the early results, Hollowell refused to concede defeat at the Democrats’ victory party in Detroit, telling supporters at the Renaissance Center Marriott Hotel just after midnight, “We’ve got a lot of precincts waiting to be counted. It’s not over yet, hang in there.”

Hollowell said he was proud of the race he and Land ran, noting it never took on a negative tone, in stark comparison to the races for governor and attorney general.

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