Former State Representative Mike “Tuffy” Hamilton, a longtime restaurateur, died Friday in a Beaumont hospital a week after suffering a heart attack.
Hamilton represented District 19 in the state legislature, which included part of Orange County, from 2003 to 2013. He was a longtime resident of Mauriceville and got his nickname when he bought “Tuffy’s Restaurant.”
Hamilton, who was 58, had a career in restaurants and catering in the Golden Triangle area. Though he had sold Tuffy’s a few years ago, he still had a restaurant called Hamilton’s in Jefferson County and his wife Terry owns and operates Southern Charm in Pinehurst. Hamilton has four children Kevin, Melissa, Lacey and Michael.
He was a Republican in the days when Orange County was mostly Democratic. He lost a bid for Orange County commissioner as a Republican in 1998. Then he ran successfully for the state legislature in 2002 as a Republican.
His term began in 2003 but redistricting in 2012 changed his district.
He ran for Orange County judge in the Republican primary in 2014. By that time, the Republicans had taken over the county and the field was crowded. He did not make the run-off.