You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Wed, Nov 3, 2010 : 12:24 a.m.

Republican Mark Ouimet wins in race for Michigan's 52nd District House seat

By Ryan J. Stanton

Republican Mark Ouimet, who has repeatedly been under fire by the Washtenaw County Democratic Party in recent weeks, has won his bid for the 52nd State House seat.

Ouimet maintained a narrow lead over Democratic opponent Christine Green throughout Election Night, but it wasn't until early this morning that Green conceded.


Republican Mark Ouimet watches results with supporters watch during a watch party at the Republican Headquarters at 2245 South State St. on Tuesday night.

Melanie Maxwell I

With all precincts reporting as of 5 a.m., Ouimet had 21,462 votes (51.6 percent) to Green's 20,027 (48.1 percent).

Ouimet, a former bank president from Scio Township, was congratulated by supporters as he left the Washtenaw County Republican Committee's headquarters in Ann Arbor at 1:30 a.m.

"I felt good about the evening from the standpoint that I think the people in the 52nd District were focused on jobs," Ouimet said. "I think they were concerned about this economy, and I think looking at the support that I had, and the support that our new governor had, spoke highly of people who were concerned about jobs."

Green's campaign manager, Margy Long, announced at 2:30 a.m. that Green, who was down by more than 1,000 votes with two precincts left to report, was calling it a night.

"We are very proud of the race that we ran," Long said. "Christine did everything to talk to voters, and she really was moved by what people had to say to her and believed firmly in her plan to bring jobs and help small businesses. It just was not the year for Democrats."

Asked how he feels going to work for a state government with his party now in control, Ouimet said he doesn't look at it from a partisan perspective.

"I look at it from the standpoint that everyone's hearing the same thing, the way I see it, and that's about the economy and jobs," he said. "I think there clearly was a concern about the path that the state was on, and I think the people throughout the state wanted to see a different direction, and I think our new governor is going to give us that."

Ouimet ran with the endorsement of Ann Arbor businessman Rick Snyder, who takes over as Michigan's governor starting in January. Snyder has vowed to eliminate the Michigan Business Tax and create an environment where businesses can flourish.

"Rick and I see eye-to-eye on economic development and job creation, so I think we're going to work very closely," Ouimet said. "Rick and I have been friends for a long time and have had a lot of discussions about business and politics, and I think it led us here this evening."

Ouimet and Green had been engaged in a bitter battle for the open seat being vacated by incumbent state Rep. Pam Byrnes, D-Lyndon Township, who was term-limited.

Ouimet raised more than $238,000 during his run for the seat, while Green raised more than $130,000.

Ouimet is a former Ann Arbor City Council member and current vice chairman of the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners. He has been credited with helping the county through tough economic times and working on such key issues as sheriff's patrols and the merger of the Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor chambers of commerce.


Democrat Christine Green looks for an update on election results during a watch party at Carlyle Restaurant on Tuesday night.

Melanie Maxwell I

Green, an attorney and Scio Township trustee, campaigned on a promise of making government more efficient and avoiding tax increases.

Both faced attacks from the other party, with the most damning coming at Ouimet in recent weeks. The local Democratic Party has questioned his use of per diems as a county commissioner and his academic credentials, among other issues. Meanwhile, Republicans have raised concerns about Green's unpaid taxes from two decades ago.

The 52nd House district represents the western part of Washtenaw County and part of the city of Ann Arbor. talked to several 52nd District voters as they left the polls Tuesday. Most appeared to base their decisions on party lines, not the individual candidates.

"I voted Democratic straight-ticket because I think that we need to continue the policies that were started two years ago," said Catherine Mermier, a medical transcriptionist from Scio Township. "To change everything up now, I think, would just move things backwards."

"I pretty much went straight-ticket, across-the-board Republican," said Phil Rider of Scio Township. "Basically it just aligns with my stance and views on different issues."

Cindie Grammatico, a catering and banquet manager from Scio Township, based her vote on her experience with Ouimet. She said she wasn't swayed by attacks on him.

"I've always liked Mark Ouimet. It's someone I know personally," she said. "I would look at what I know of him instead of what I hear from other people slinging the mud."

Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for Reach him at or 734-623-2529.


Tom Wieder

Sat, Nov 6, 2010 : 4:19 p.m.

@Roadman- "Mr. Ouimet has stated that his MBA resulted from a legitimate program at LaSalle. He has never conceded any wrongdoing with per diem or mileage claims and wants an independent audit. He has not been found by a Court to have done anything improper or fraudulent." Oh well, if Mr. Ouimet "states it," it must be true. And he doesn't "concede" any wrongdoing, so I guess that must be true, too. The County Clerk, the official chosen by the Commissioners, including Ouimet, to audit their per diems and mileage, "states" that over $10,000 of his were ineligible, and another $6000 were questionable. Since the Clerk "states" that, I'll count it as true. The County Administrator has commissioned an audit by the County's accountants. Is that independent enough for you? When they come back and confirm the basic findings of Kestenbaum, then what will you say? That the county has to go to court to get Ouimet to repay? And if he pays without a court order, does that mean he didn't do anything improper, because there isn't a court decision on it? Of course, Ouimet got a higher percentage in A2 than the GOP nominee did in 2008. Democrats always do better in Presidential years, and Pam Byrnes was a two-term incumbent in 2008. The partisan baseline in the 52nd is about a 3% GOP advantage. In a year that saw an extremely conservative electorate and a huge shift to the GOP in Michigan, Ouimet just hit the average baseline. In anything close to an average year, he would have lost. The last time there wasn't an incumbent in the seat, 2004, Republican Joe Yekulis got 28% in A2; this year Ouimet got 32%. 2010 was a phenominally better year for the GOP than 2004, which was a Presidential year. Yekulis ran 10% above the top of his ticket; Ouimet ran 3% above the top of his. The slightly higher percentage Ouimet got in A2 did not "make his victory possible," and it hardly shows great respect for him in A2. @InsidetheHall - "The female Geoff Feiger was exposed for what she was by going negative against Ouimet." So, every lawyer who does plaintiff's work is exactly like Feiger when they run for office? So, I guess that means that former banker Ouimet is just like Alexi Giannoulias - the former banker Dem who lost the Senate race in Illinois this year, right? Green was "exposed" by going negative? Exposed as what? And what was "exposed" about Ouimet when he went negative first, dragging out 20+ -year-old resolved tax issues relating to Green and implying that she still had unpaid taxes?


Thu, Nov 4, 2010 : 9:27 p.m.

Yes, in the 2008 race in the 52nd House District Pam Byrnes pulled in 62% of the total vote against the Republican nominee. In 2010, Chris Green had the endorsement of just about every Democratic heavy weight in Ann Arbor. Mark Ouimet pulled in much higher percentage of the Ann Arbor vote than the Republican nominee did in 2008. It is clear that Mr. Ouimet enjoys the respect of many Ann Arborites who made his victory possible.


Thu, Nov 4, 2010 : 7:30 p.m.

He Tom, this just in. This was a seat held by the DEMS. The female Geoff Feiger was exposed for what she was by going negative against Ouimet. Green blew it!


Thu, Nov 4, 2010 : 12:24 p.m.

" many offices above the township level does the GOP control in this County." Three Washtenaw circuit judges are Engler appointees, and Archie Brown is a big GOP donor. State Senator Randy Richardville's district goes partially into Washtenaw County and he is one of the favorites to be appointed as the new Senate Majority Leader. The GOP picked up a surprise victory over County Commissioner Schwartz. Tim Walberg has got his Congressional seat back. Mr. Ouimet has stated that his MBA resulted from a legitimate program at LaSalle. He has never conceded any wrongdoing with per diem or mileage claims and wants an independent audit. He has not been found by a Court to have done anything improper or fraudulent. The GOP has made a comeback in this County, Tom.

First Presbyterian

Thu, Nov 4, 2010 : 6:14 a.m.

Congrads to "Bankster" "Four Per Day Per Diem" Dr. Mark Ouimet, MBA! LOL should be embarrassed that they didn't pull their endorsement after the truth started to come out.

Tom Wieder

Wed, Nov 3, 2010 : 7:24 p.m.

@inside the hall- "no match" for Ouimet? That phrase usually means not even competitive. With the top of his ticket winning by 20% statewide and getting almost a draw in very Democratic Washtenaw County, Ouimet managed a 3.5% win after raising twice as much money (a lot of it his own) and representing a third of the district as a commissioner for 6 years. Without Snyder's coattails, he would have been toast. What does it say about a newly elected public official that the best thing his strongest supporters can find to say about him is that he "is seen everywhere and is quite approachable." That description could fit a golden retriever who escaped from his yard.


Wed, Nov 3, 2010 : 7:08 p.m.

As predicted months ago trial lawyer Green was no match for the popular Ouimet who is seen everywhere and is very approachable. He will make a fine State Rep and addition to the Snyder team.

John Q

Wed, Nov 3, 2010 : 3:03 p.m.

Party label and Snyder association trumps unethical behavior by winner.

Tom Wieder

Wed, Nov 3, 2010 : 2:47 p.m.

@Roadman- "We won't be hearing from Tom Wieder for awhile [sic]" As usual, Roadman, you're wrong, because, presto, here I am. "This is one of the sweetest victories for local GOP activists." Also, about the only one. How many offices above the township level does the GOP control in this County? "You are a proud alumnus of LaSalle and the master of per diems! LOL" It's really sad when a politician's supporters celebrate his purchase of a bogus degree from a diploma mill and his improper receipt of public dollars. With the help of a 20% tailwind from Snyder, Ouimet won the election, but the taint of his misdeeds will not be easily blown away, much as you might wish it. He still has to repay the money to the County. "You survived a vicious negative campaigning barrage from Chris Green's camp." You're referring to all those allegations investigated by and printed in the large-media-corporation-owned news organization that endorsed him? Roadman, one thing remains as true today as it was weeks ago - not one single fact of the allegations against Ouimet has ever been disputed by him, let alone refuted. He squeaked by in an election that he and the entire GOP establishment had taken for granted. And many people now see him for what he's really like. We'll see how long he lasts.


Wed, Nov 3, 2010 : 12:19 p.m.

Congratulations to State Representative-Elect Mark Ouimet! You survived a vicious negative campaigning barrage from Chris Green's camp. You are a proud alumnus of LaSalle and the master of per diems! LOL This is one of the sweetest victories for local GOP activists. We won't be hearing from Tom Wieder for awhile.

David Cahill

Wed, Nov 3, 2010 : 10:50 a.m.

Also, no Dem in a "swing" district like the 52nd could be expected to overcome a 20-percentage-point statewide deficit in the governor's race. My guess is that folks started voting Republican at the top and continued right on down.

David Briegel

Wed, Nov 3, 2010 : 8:07 a.m.

Since there was and is no media with reporters to actually ask the tough questions and follow up questions and challenge the candidates All the candidate has to do is show up and slide on into office. That was precisely the Republican strategy accross the board from top to bottom. We will see how long it takes for the buyers remorse to set in?


Wed, Nov 3, 2010 : 7:32 a.m.

Christine Green's campaign was aggressive and well run. Her campaign manager should be congratulated on making the race much closer than anybody thought it would be. Ouimet was put on the defensive for most of the last month. It's amazing that people could see through all that noise and elect him anyway.


Wed, Nov 3, 2010 : 7:08 a.m.

Whew!...thank goodness all the liberal mud slinging by this "paper" failed to alter the outcome of the election!

E. Manuel Goldstein

Tue, Nov 2, 2010 : 11:39 p.m.

I mean, Mark knows just how to go after those per diems and get his expenses covered!

E. Manuel Goldstein

Tue, Nov 2, 2010 : 11:38 p.m.

Mark Ouimet can use his totally great financial acumen - he was a banker you know, and along with the new rich Republican Governor, gut what's left of the state's budget.