GREENVILLE — With nearly a hundred supporters crowded into his restaurant Thursday night and the sound of ragtime music flowing through the air as local musician Nels Hansen played away on the piano, Mike Huckleberry, with the help of Sen. Carl Levin, energized a crowd to their feet in hopes that Huckleberry will return to Lansing as the 70th District representative.
With just 11 days remaining until the election on Nov. 6, Huckleberry held a rally from Huckleberry’s Restaurant. He was joined by Levin and together they spoke to the crowd about the upcoming election.
“We want to continue to energize my team,” Huckleberry said. “Sen. Levin called me and asked if there was anything he could do to help, he thought of us. He was in town and was willing to stop by again.”
Levin was with Huckleberry when Huckleberry made the announcement that he was going to run against Rep. Rick Outman, R-Six Lakes, for office. Levin said he wanted to be with Huckleberry on Thursday to once again show his support.
“Huck is a Harry Truman kind of a guy. He’s my kind of guy,” Levin said. “This is an absolutely fascinating election. This is what you call a swing district and it’s going to be swinging Huck’s way this time.”
Levin spoke to the capacity crowd for about 10 minutes before taking 30 minutes to greet dozens of local residents throughout the restaurant, answers questions and listening to personal stories.
“Everybody’s working hard to make sure we have a good turnout this election,” Levin said. “The turnout will decide the election in many, many districts. It will decide races like Huck’s by just a few points.”
In regard to Huckleberry losing his re-election bid in 2010, Levin pointed to a low voting turnout, stating it was the primary reason Huckleberry was not re-elected to a second term.
“We had a low turnout across the state and we lost the state Legislature and the state House went deeply Republican,” Levin said. “We were at the bottom of a recession and we are gradually getting out of that recession now. People are more optimistic and they know we have Democrats that are fighting for the people, not for corporations.”
Both Huckleberry and Levin were all smiles Thursday night and Huckleberry said he believes he has good reason to be optimistic about his chances to return to Lansing.
“We feel that we are in the lead and have to work to hold (that lead),” Huckleberry said. “We feel that the attacks and the robocalls from my opponent are working against him. We also feel that they wouldn’t be spending the kind of money that they are if they were ahead.”
Huckleberry said he estimates the Republican party has spent nearly $500,000 in advertising in support of Outman.
“People are sick of the nastiness, they are sick of the lies and we think this is going to play to our favor,” Huckleberry said. “Together, we’ve knocked on over 15,000 doors. I’ve personally been knocking on more than 100 doors a day. It’s all about getting in front of the people knowing that we are sincere.”
On why he believes he deserves the people’s vote, Huckleberry pointed to his experience as a business owner and to his previous term as a representative from 2008 to 2010.
“I think that I’ve shown a desire to work across the aisle,” he said. “My voting record is very stellar for this district. I think my small business experience, 20 years as a business owner, plays well. I’ve experienced some tough financial times. My passion is to try to turn our district around and create jobs and I don’t think it can come from anybody better than me, I know what other small businesses are going through.”