MARQUETTE - Incumbent U.S. Rep. Dan Benishek fought off a tough election challenge Tuesday, and appears to have retained his Congressional seat by a narrow margin.
According to the Associated Press, Benishek has collected 2,297 more votes than challenger Gary McDowell, D-Rudyard. All precincts have reported results.
Benishek issued a statement this morning thanking voters, as well as his friends, family and staff.
"Michigan's 1st District voted for jobs, the American Dream and limited government, but just because the election is over does not mean our job is done," Benishek said. "The hardest part is yet to come."
In the race for Michigan's 1st Congressional District - which represents the entire Upper Peninsula and a portion of northwestern lower Michigan - Benishek netted 166,833 votes. McDowell had 164,536 votes, while Libertarian candidate Emily Salvette had 10,917 and Green Party candidate Ellis Boal had 4,156.
Tuesday's tight race was a repeat of the 2010 battle between Benishek and McDowell, which Benishek won by 11 percentage points.
Benishek said that, upon his return to Congress, his goals will remain the same.
"For the next two years my focus will remain on bringing jobs back to Northern Michigan, reigning in the spending and fighting to keep the American Dream alive for our children and grandchildren," he said. "However none of this would have been possible without the support of the voters."
Calls for comment made to McDowell's staff this morning were not returned prior to press time.
Kyle Whitney can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250.