State Rep. Vicki Barnett cruised into her third and final term in the Michigan House on Tuesday, taking slightly more than 61 percent of the vote in the 37th District, which includes Farmington and Farmington Hills.
Barnett finished with a wider margin of victory over Republican challenger Bruce Lilley of Farmington than when she won her first term in 2008.
"I really want to thank the voters for repudiating the negative attacks and the robocalls that came out for my opponent's side," Barnett said during an election night party at Page's Food & Spirits. "They made it very clear that you win an election in Farmington and Farmington Hills by having ideas and positive things to say."
"We walked all over this district," Barnett campaign volunteer Laura Zander said, adding campaign workers were calling voters and working until 9 p.m. every night. "She stayed positive and told people what she would do to make this community better. I just feel really proud tonight."
Barnett also had high praise for election clerks Sue Halberstadt in Farmington and Pam Smith in Farmington Hills, who she said ran outstanding elections, despite heavy voter turnout.
At his campaign headquarters in downtown Farmington, Lilley said he spent all of Tuesday at the polls, where dozens of volunteers for his campaign greeted voters with campaign signs and literature. He said many of the people who volunteered for his campaign had never before been involved in politics.
"Everyone should have the blessing in their life to work with a team like this," he said. "We just had a wonderful experience; energy was very high. It still is."
Lilley said the success of his campaign can be measured "in a different way. We have managed to engage the community in a way that's phenomenal."
Volunteer Coordinator Colleen Powers said she had never been involved in a political campaign before backing Lilley.
"It wasn't about being Republican or Democrat, it was about supporting Bruce," she said, adding that not everyone who got involved with the campaign knew Lilley.
"People were drawn in by his message," she said, "and were wonderful in supporting the campaign. It was a great effort."