Former political opponents bridge divide for unity in November

Updated: Aug 8, 2020

Linda O'Dell and Dana Ferguson met Friday post-election at the Mackinac Bridge for a display of solidarity and First District unity.

ST. IGNACE, Mich. — Just days after record turnout in a primary election, the two Democratic candidates for Michigan's First District united Friday for a conversation and symbolic display of unity backdropped by the Mackinac Bridge.

Dana Ferguson and Linda O'Dell agreed prior to the election on Tuesday regardless of results to connect in-person to show solidarity moving forward in the general election.

"Linda should be extraordinarily proud of the campaign she ran," said Ferguson. "She elevated the discussion and gave voters a very viable option at the polls. Garnering over 25,000 votes is such an admirable feat."

Ferguson ultimately was the majority vote-getter, but says O'Dell's gesture was gracious and a display of true leadership.

"To get across the finish this November, it's vital we unite Northern Michigan and U.P. voters to come together at the polls," said Ferguson. "Linda was supportive and reached out Wednesday morning after the election to congratulate us, and it shows how cordial and positive politics can be, even among two very competitive, passionate campaigns."

On Facebook Wednesday, Linda O'Dell publicly congratulated Ferguson in a statement.

"I congratulate Dana Ferguson on his win to be the Democratic nominee, and we must turn our attention to ensure success in November against Jack Bergman," said O'Dell.

Ferguson emphasized the importance of continuing the dialogue through the general election.

"Linda brought a very important perspective to the table," Ferguson said. "I hope to be able to absorb and better understand her positions to be more representative for the entire district."

Both O'Dell and Ferguson practiced social distancing and wore masks during the meeting in full compliance with Governor Whitmer's executive orders.