“Nice guy”, my ass
When we moved to Dexter about seven years ago, our State House Representative was the amazing House Speaker Pro Tempore Pam Byrnes. She was term limited out of office and, in the crashing tea party wave of 2010, this historically Democratic seat was lost to “Nice Guy” Republican Mark Ouimet. As I have reported in the past, this “nice guy” actually participated in some pretty lowbrow campaigning with Michigan Republican Party attacking his opponents with poo-smeared brushes. Ouimet attempted to stay above it all but his protestations were feeble at best.
This year, however, he did not prevail. He was soundly beaten by Gretchen Driskell, the down-to-earth mayor of Saline. She beat Ouimet, in fact, by a greater margin than he beat his first opponent Christine Green in 2010. As it turns out, particularly in a presidential election year, no amount of Republican redistricting and dirty politics and vicious robocalling and offensive mailers can overcome a good, solid, progressive Democratic candidate in the 52nd district. It warms my heart.
On Tuesday night, I was happy to be able to be in the room when Gretchen’s victory was announced. She gave a great speech and was all but carried around the room on the shoulders of those of us who participated in helping her win.
Absent from the festivities was “the call”. You know, where the losing candidate picks up the phone, congratulates their victorious opponent on running a good campaign, and wishes them success.
Ouimet’s call to Driskell actually came the next morning at 6:30 a.m. while she was asleep.
He conceded the race by voice mail.
A better man would have called on Election Night. A better man, if he HAD to make the call the next day, would have waited until 10 a.m. or later to be sure the exhausted candidate was awake to receive the call.
But Mark Ouimet isn’t a “better man”. In this case, the better man won and the better man was a woman — Michigan State House Representative Gretchen Driskell from the 52nd House District.
Congratulations, Gretchen. We’re very, very proud of you.