U.S. Rep. Fred Upton appeared on his way to an overwhelming win early today to secure his 18th consecutive term for the 6th Congressional District.

The incumbent began the night strong, posting a large lead in every county within the 6th District over Democrat Jon Hoadley.

While there were still precincts that had not reported, Upton’s camp declared victory at 12:30 a.m. Wednesday.

“I am grateful for the trust – once again – to serve Southwest Michigan for another two years,” Upton said in a statement. “Our country faces enormous challenges, and I remain committed to working with the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus to get things done in a closely divided political climate.”

With 71 percent of the district’s precincts being reported, Upton had 61.7 percent of the votes compared to Hoadley’s 33.8 percent.

While not all results were in by Wednesday morning, including absentee ballots, Upton had built a 27.9-point lead over Hoadley.

This was in stark contrast to Upton’s 2018 re-election bid.

Upton’s 2018 Democratic challenger, Matt Longjohn, had pushed the incumbent in a tight race – which Upton claimed by a margin of 4.5 points.

Hoadley could not be reached for comment Wednesday morning.

In the August primary, Upton secured 62 percent of the votes to defeat challenger Elena Oelke. Hoadley claimed 52 percent of the overall vote against fellow Democratic Jen Richardson in the primary.

On Tuesday, the incumbent won over voters, leading in every county as of Wednesday morning.

Michigan’s 6th Congressional District – which has been a Republican stronghold for decades – includes all of Berrien, Cass, Kalamazoo, St. Joseph and Van Buren counties and most of Allegan County.

“We absolutely have to come together for another COVID relief package that passes the bipartisan muster to aid our communities, health care providers, small businesses, schools, families and the most vulnerable,” Upton said. “Testing and an FDA-approved vaccine are critical to restoring our way of life.

“I am set to work with anyone from either party to get the job done. Full steam ahead.”

Upton, 67, was first elected in 1986. The St. Joseph congressman announced his intentions to run for re-election much later in the election cycle than in previous years.

Hoadley, 37, is completing his third and final two-year term in the Michigan House of Representatives representing District 60, which encompasses the city of Kalamazoo and the majority of Kalamazoo Township.

Libertarian Jeff Depoy and Green Party candidate John Lawrence received less than 5 percent, combined, of the vote.

Contact: twittkowski@TheHP.com, 932-0358, Twitter: @TonyWittkowski