Chesterton Tribune                                                                                   Adv.

Adams ousts Harper in County Commissioner race

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By JEFF SCHULTZ

In what was likely the most hotly contended race in Porter County this election, voters ultimately picked Republican Nancy Adams to unseat Democrat incumbent Robert Harper from his post as central district county commissioner.

Adams said she believes her edge came from campaigning door-to-door to about 8,000 homes and taking into consideration the concerns of county residents.

“It was all about jobs the whole time,” she said. “I think that is very important in our vision for county government.”

Adams, who owns Strongbow Restaurant in Valparaiso with her husband Russ Adams, told the Tribune she is “ready to go” to put together a plan for the county, cultivating suggestions from county heads and municipal leaders on what are the best ways to grow the county’s economy.

“We’re all ready to collaborate which we really need,” she said. “It’s important to listen to what everybody has to say because I think we have some great ideas.”

New to county politics, Adams topped the count with 24,022 votes (or 54.34 percent) compared to Harper’s 20,182 (45.66 percent), a difference of 3,840 votes.

Harper however did win more votes in the county’s largest township, Portage Twp., with 5,549 votes to Adams’ 4,611. Harper won all but five of Portage’s 37 precincts.

Harper had no comment as to whether or not he believed the ads attacking him mailed by the Valparaiso Republicans had an effect on the race.

He told the Chesterton Tribune this morning he was disappointed with the low voter turnout in those areas like Portage which tend to trend more towards Democrats.

The larger Republican support is what did his race in, Harper believes. “It’s obvious the Democrats just didn’t turn out.”

The only other victory Harper garnered, although slim, was in Pine Twp., which has two precincts. There Harper captured 447 votes, over Adam’s 429.

Westchester Twp. results showed voters evenly divided between the two candidates. Adams took 2,832 votes to Harper’s 2,758, with roughly a 40 percent voter turnout.

Adams’ biggest support came from Westchester voting precinct 14 which recorded 343 votes for Adams and only 184 for Harper. Harper took Westchester precincts 1, 3, 5, 10, 11, 12, 13, 15, and 17. The candidates tied in Westchester 7 with 239 votes.

In the five voting precincts in Liberty Twp., Adams came out on top with 1,344 votes to 1,006 for Harper.

Jackson Township also sided with Adams, giving her 1,023 votes to Harper’s 821 from the three township precincts.

Harper managed to hold some ground in Center Twp. winning seven of the township’s 34 precincts. Overall, Adams swepts Center with almost 60 percent of the vote going to her. The total was 7,183 for Adams and 5,248 for Harper.

If he would have won, this would have been Harper’s second general election win. Harper was elected by a Democratic caucus in 2003 to the commissioner’s seat when former county commissioner Larry Sheets died while in office.

In the 2006 general elections, Harper defeated Republican challenger Michael Herzog.

With Adams on board, the Republicans will have a ruling majority of the County Commissioners.

Harper is currently the Commissioners’ President.

Holdover members are Chesterton’s John Evans, a Republican, and South County Commissioner Carole Knoblock, a Democrat.

Adams says she is excited to learn from Evans and believes they will work together positively.

The commissioners are to make appointments to various county boards in January.

Harper, who has taken criticism for his strong opposition to forging partnerships with neighboring Lake County such as the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority, said he congratulates the Republicans on all their wins on Tuesday.

Harper said he will now focus on his work as a practicing attorney.

 

Posted 11/3/2010

 

 

 

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