Hughes beats Lamonte to retain seat in Lansing

MUSKEGON COUNTY, Mich. -- A race that has two women facing off for the third time was a close one.

Holly Hughes was leading Collene Lamonte 49% to 45% with over half of the precincts reporting as of 12:15am in the 61st District.  Lamonte issued a statement at 12:20am conceding the race.

“While I’m disappointed that this election didn’t go the way I had hoped, I couldn’t be prouder of the campaign I ran or the many people who believed in me enough to volunteer on my behalf. Though I won’t be serving them as their representative, I will continue to fight for all the working families, seniors, students and small-business owners in our district, and hold their elected leaders accountable for the choices they make in Lansing.”

In previous races, Lamonte beat Hughes in 2012, and then Hughes took the seat back in 2014 by just 53 votes.

This is Hughes fifth time running for an office at the state or national level.

She has had four campaigns for state representative and one as a Republican National Committee Woman. Prior to that she served on the White River Township Board of Trustees.

She told FOX 17 News that one thing she's most proud of is her Veteran's Job Fair, which is in place May 20 of next year.

"Five years ago we started this job fair with our veteran's director. It used to be that there was people looking for work, and now work is looking for people. We really need people to move back to Muskegon because we have jobs that we are trying to fill in all different positions," said Hughes.

Collene Lamonte is a former school teacher who is running as a candidate hoping to fix a broken government. Lamonte is focused on helping displaced workers and struggling small businesses. Also, she hopes to help kids going to college figure out how to pay back their debt.

"Being a teacher was my main focus, and I think our county right now, we are in desperate need of seeing a lot more help for our education system. We need to make sure our kids get the best opportunities and have a possibility so they can go and get those high-paying jobs and have a future here in our state," said Lamonte.

There were record turnouts in several precincts in Muskegon County.

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