Whiteford wins, Gamrat concedes in 80th District

Posted at 8:38 PM, Nov 03, 2015
and last updated 2015-11-03 20:38:09-05

ALLEGAN, Mich. — Former State Representative Cindy Gamrat officially conceded defeat in her attempt to win back her seat in Lansing after being ousted in September.

Gamrat was running against seven other Republicans in the special election that was called following Gamrat's expulsion.

“It was a tremendous honor to serve, and I gave it my all and I did the best I could," Gamrat told reporters who were gathered in her living room Tuesday night.

The ousted former state representative, who was already wearing a TV microphone when reporters began arriving at her home Tuesday evening, said she was being filmed by a crew from ABC News for an upcoming "20/20" special about her and former state Rep. Todd Courser's affair and bizarre cover-up attempt.

Gamrat did not have an immediate answer when asked what her next move would be, only saying it would likely not be in politics. While her children looked on through video FaceTime on her cell phone, Gamrat conceded saying she felt at peace with the situation.

“It hasn’t been easy, that’s for sure. But like I said on the House floor, sometimes the easiest path isn’t always the right one," she said. "And sometimes it’s how you deal with adversity and try to step forward as best you can. I think a lot of healing has come from this."

With roughly 100% of the precincts reporting, Mary Whiteford had 51% of the vote and Jim Storey had just under 24% of the vote.   Gamrat was third with about 9.75% of the vote.

Whiteford declared victory from her party Tuesday night.  Lt. Governor Brian Calley tweeted out congratulations to Mary Whiteford at about 9:15pm.

“I’m just truly, truly humbled and honored to have earned the trust of so many in Allegan County," Whiteford told a room of supporters Tuesday in Allegan.

"I'm relieved all this work has paid off and my family and friends have stuck behind me and people have listened to my message."

Whiteford told supporters she'll be the kind of "common sense conservative" she told people she'd be two years ago when she first ran for the 80th District against Gamrat, and lost.

"We have so many wonderful people in this district, they need a voice and I will be that voice," she said. "Regardless of what happened, I’m going to stay positive and do my best to be a good representative for the people here.”

Storey, who is still a sitting county commissioner, said he'll be happy to retain that role and has no problem focusing his efforts there if that's what voters decide.

“I’m in this for public service, not be served and that’s my goal," Storey told FOX 17. "Whatever public role is rewarded to me by voters is what I’ll use to the maximum potential.”

Whiteford will face off against the lone Democrat running for the seat in a special general election set for March.