It was a night of new contenders as the ballots were totaled on Tuesday in Pulaski County.
Dozens stood on watch just outside the Starke County Clerk’s office as results were projected onto a screen for the public’s viewing. The Republican Party boasted plenty of contested races for the Board of County Commissioners, County Council, Auditor, and a few others.
In the District 1 Pulaski County Commissioners race, Jerry Locke defeated incumbent Terry Young with 45-percent of the vote. Locke also fended off a challenge from candidate Ken Dunn. The race was considered heated at times as Locke’s supporters were asked to remove campaign hats while attending Commissioner’s meetings earlier this year. A few slightly risqué campaign signs were also spotted in Winamac regarding the race.
Incumbent Larry Brady was also unseated in the District 2 Commissioners race by former Highway Superintendent Kenny Becker on a 65-35 margin.
Three County Council At-Large seats were up for grabs during Tuesday’s primary election as well. Scott Hinkle, Incumbent Jay Sullivan, and Ken Boswell were the top vote getters. They will move on to face the Democratic Party’s challengers in November.
Turnout was considered quite high in Pulaski County. According to the county clerk’s Election Summary report, 41-percent of eligible voters cast a ballot in this year’s primary. That equates to just under 4,000 ballots cast this year. Indiana’s role in the presidential races may have been a driving factor, according to multiple sources.
Other contested races on the Republican side include the auditor’s race. Laura Wheeler defeated JoLynn Behny to move onto the General Election with 67-percent of the vote.
John Fritz was chosen as a Republican precinct committeeman in Jefferson Township and Ken Boswell was elected as a precinct committeeman in Franklin Township with 64-percent of the vote.
State Convention Delegates were also pretty diverse. Five candidates will move onto the party convention later this year, including: Doug Gutwein, Daniel Murphy, Mick Tiede, Crystal Brucker Kocher, and Blair Todd in the GOP race. Only one candidate appeared on the ballot for the Democrats.
Candidates not facing a challenge during the primary election will move onto the November General Election. Ballots still need to be certified by the Pulaski County Election Board.
This was the first election the Board has decided to implement a vote center model. The concept allowed voters to cast the proper ballot at any of five polling locations using poll pad technology and voter identification.
According to Election Board President Jon Frain, voting proceeded smoothly. A bit of a slowdown was experienced during peak hours, but Frain commented that was largely due to high turnout.
The Election Board will re-assess the operation of the vote center model from Tuesday at their next meeting to target any improvements for November.