Despite losing the national presidential race Tuesday, local Republicans found delight in celebrating the re-election of one of their own.
Rick Outman, R-Six Lakes, was re-elected to his 70th District post for a second term, besting challenger and former state representative Mike Huckleberry, D-Greenville. The tallied votes included 17,104 for Outman and 14,150 for Huckleberry (not including one precinct in Gratiot County, which remained unreported early Wednesday morning).
The 70th District encompasses all of Montcalm County and a portion of Gratiot County, including the cities of Alma and St. Louis and the townships of Bethany, Emerson, Pine River and Seville.
Outman said he was feeling “pretty joyous” in the wee hours of this morning, although, “the (Republican) presidential loss kind of put a damper on it,” he admitted.
Outman, who owns Outman Excavating in Six Lakes, said he went into Tuesday’s race without specific expectations.
“If I don’t get it, I’ve got a life here,” said Outman of his attitude before election results were tallied. “My life is not Lansing. But I wanted to finish the work I began. When I decided to run the first time, in my mind I was willing to make a six-year commitment. That was the plan, so I’m glad it turned out the way it did.
“I’m very humbled by all the work everybody put in,” Outman added. “This wasn’t my victory. There was countless hours of volunteer work. It was truly a team effort.”
Huckleberry is the owner of Huckleberry’s Restaurant in Greenville and previously served as state representative in 2009 and 2010. He could not be reached for comment after the election.
“I wish him well,” said Outman of his opponent.
Outman, who is a veteran of the U.S. Army, said his goals when returning to office include creating an environment conducive to job growth, reforming the state’s regulatory environment and improving benefits for veterans, especially in the realm of educational and job opportunities.