Cotter wins state representative race; looks forward to 'getting work done' in Lansing

Jeff Smith/Staff Photographer Wife Jennifer Cotter, left, gets a hug from Linda Mead, both of Mount Pleasant after poll results came in Tuesday during Kevin Cotter's election party at Mountain Town Station, 506 W. Broadway St.

Republican Kevin Cotter is officially the new state representative for Michigan's 99th district.

Cotter defeated his Democratic opponent Toni Sessoms by a margin of 64 percent to 36 percent, after all 48 precincts reported early Wednesday morning.

He said he was eager to start his new position in Lansing.

“It feels great, I feel great,” Cotter said. “Now it’s time to get to work and deliver.”


Isabella County voted in Cotter's favor, giving him about 62 percent of the votes. Cotter defeated Sessoms 68 to 32 percent in the 19 Midland County precincts.


Paige Calamari/Staff Photographer Candidate for State Representative Toni Sessoms, left, and Mount Pleasant resident Benjamin Barker, right, follow online election results Tuesday night at the Isabella County Democratic Party office in Mount Pleasant. "Waiting is the hardest part," Sessoms said.

Mount Pleasant resident Kevin Cotter, Republican candidate in the 99th district race, smiles as he watches poll results come in Tuesday during his election party at Mountain Town Station, 506 W. Broadway St. "It's very early still but I certainly like the way things are headed." Cotter had 68 percent of the vote in Midland County. (Jeff Smith/Staff Photographer)

Sessoms conceded defeat around 3 a.m. on her Facebook page, after the results were delayed because of technical problems in Isabella County.

"We knew early on, looking at the overall turnout in the Mount Pleasant and Union Township precincts that we were going to have a hard night," Sessoms said.

She credited Cotter's victory to an overall trend of more Republican voters going to the polls.

Cotter will take over for current state Rep. Bill Caul, R-Mount Pleasant, who is leaving office because of term limits.

 Sessoms and Cotter both own their own law practices. Sessoms was a practicing nurse in New York and North Carolina for 17 years, and said she did not regret anything.

"I'm actually very proud," she said. "It was not because we didn't have a good campaign, we actually did everything right."

Both campaigns were affected last week when a series of automated calls from Gary Glenn’s Campaign for Michigan Families went out, urging voters to vote against Sessoms because of her sexual orientation.

Cotter, a CMU alumnus and Isabella County native, ran on a platform of efficient government spending.

He said he plans on trying to eliminate the Michigan Business Tax, lessening regulations and has opposed reinstating the Michigan Promise Scholarship.

Cotter pledged to voters to examine the budget and evaluate any and everything.

“What we need to do with the budget is take a microscope, question every allocation in it,” Cotter said.