Dr. Rob Davidson received more votes than he expected it would take to win Michigan’s 2nd Congressional District race.
Amid record-breaking voter turnout, he picked up more than 131,000 votes Tuesday, but the support still wasn’t enough to unseat U.S. Rep. Bill Huizenga, R-Zeeland. Huizenga gathered 55 percent of the vote.
Davidson, a hospital emergency room doctor and former Spring Lake school board trustee, was the first Democrat to break 40 percent of the vote in a 2nd Congressional District race in many years, gaining 43 percent against Huizenga, who was elected to serve his fifth two-year term in Congress.
Davidson won precincts in the Kent County portion of the district, including Walker and Grandville. He also won Muskegon and precincts in Holland, Grand Haven and Spring Lake.
The House will be less friendly to Huizenga, as Democrats regained control Tuesday, for a total of 225 seats to the Republicans’ 197.
The turnout for Democrats was a response to what Davidson called the “insidious attacks on working families and on the poor and on institutions of government that we’ve all relied on for so long.”
“Huizenga is part of this,” he added.
Davidson’s platform focused on creating a universal health care system, as the candidate drew from his experience working with patients who he said are often just as concerned for their ability to pay bills as the ailments that bring them to the emergency room.
The conversation around universal health care lacks moderate voices, Davidson said. And while he has no plans to try again for a seat in the U.S. House, he intends to continue to advocate for a new health care system.
“I think I have a voice that a lot of independents and moderates heard and said, ‘Oh, that makes sense,’” he said.
Davidson spent Tuesday night with supporters and fellow Democrat Poppy Sais-Hernandez, who was narrowly defeated in the state Senate 34th District race by Republican Jon Bumstead.
“There’s a movement going on here in West Michigan,” Davidson said. “I feel good that my campaign gave some focus to it. We’ve done some good. We’re starting to build the blocks for making this a consistently competitive district.”
Davidson doesn’t think the 2nd Congressional District is an unfair district or has been gerrymandered, though he said gerrymandering has played a role in other Michigan districts.
The state Proposal 2, which was approved Tuesday with 60 percent of the vote, will create an independent commission of citizens to draw the district lines following the next U.S. Census.
For now, Davidson said he looks forward to a less hectic schedule before assessing any future political moves. The election was a major adjustment for him and his family.
“I poured my heart and soul into it,” he said.