John Evans is one election away from earning a fourth term as Porter
County’s Northern District Commissioner.
In the most heated race in the county primary elections, Evans took a 8,117
votes on Republican ballots nearly 20 percent more than opponent and current
1st District County Council Representative Jim Biggs’ 5,601.
In the South District Republican race, Mike Heinold defeated Jim Polarek.
Evans vs. Biggs
In the North District race Biggs held a slightly better ratio in the
Duneland area consisting of Westchester, Pine, Liberty and Jackson Townships
with 41.32 percent of the vote compared to 40.83 percent countywide. He
captured 1,890 of the Duneland votes while Evans took 2,684.
Biggs performed better in Jackson and Liberty Townships with 47.3 percent
and 44.1 percent respectively while Evans was strongest in Pine with 63
Evans ran his campaign on the hope of bringing more jobs to the county,
saying the execution of a plan by the newly formed County Jobs Cabinet would
be his main goal going into his next term. He said the plan will direct new
business and industrial growth as the county expands. Evans has shown a
propensity for partnering with municipalities such as the possibility of
sharing building space with Valparaiso and Portage and voted to accept
Chesterton’s offer of including the county in the Ind. 49 Utility Corridor
Biggs’ campaign centered on needed funding for the county’s Enhanced 911
system which is operating at a deficit of close to $2.5 million per year and
whose rainy day funds are estimated to run out in 2014. He promised voters
that he would lessen the county’s dependability on outside consultants if
elected and would work to form a strategic comprehensive operations plan
addressing ways of how the county’s finances and recurring costs would be
Having sealed a victory Tuesday night, Evans told the Chesterton Tribune
he is “glad (the primary election) is over” and has his eyes set on
improving the communication between the board of commissioners and the
county council as they discuss issues such as E-911 funding, a new animal
shelter and the overcrowding at the Porter County Jail. He hopes the
people’s vote of confidence will persuade the “no-jays” on the council to
stop being so opposed to his proposals.
“I’m hoping we can move Porter County forward,” he said.
Biggs’ defeat rendered him somewhat speechless saying he had no comment
looking at the election results.
“I don’t have much to say other than the numbers speak for themselves,”
So far, no Democratic challenger has come forward to oppose Evans in the
November general election. The county Democrat and Republican parties have
between now and noon on June 30 to fill ballot vacancies.
Meanwhile, Mike Heinold will be the Republican nominee for South District
His race yielded results similar to the Biggs/Evan race as he beat out
opponent and 4th District County Council member Jim Polarek by the same 20
New to politics, Heinold racked up a total of 7,550 votes county wide
leaping over Polarek’s total of 5,208 according to the latest election
Heinold, a Morgan Township resident like Polarek, fared better in the
Duneland precincts with 61.45 percent of the vote compared to a countywide
percentage of 59.18 percent. The Duneland vote was 2,423 for Heinold and
1,520 for Polarek. The strongest concentrations of Heinold’s Duneland
supporters reside in Westchester and Pine townships with percentages of
Besides the results, the two candidates also ran on platforms similar to
their North District counterparts. Heinhold said he decided to make a run
for office to develop long-term jobs with local businesses. He also has
indicated his support for Evans’ Jobs Cabinet and his vote to develop the
Ind. 49 corridor area south of Chesterton.
Polarek had taken a stance that mirrored a few of the details in the Biggs
campaign. He has shown support for the Jobs Cabinet but believes the county
should first worry about its costs for E-911 and employee health insurance.
He criticized the commissioner board for not having the leadership needed to
address monumental costs facing the county.
He will continue to stay on the county council for the remainder of his term
which will be up in 2014.
“I wish Mr. Heinold the best. I’m going to continue what’ve I’ve been doing
on the council by asking questions on things I think need to be addressed.
I’m not going to change my values,” Polarek told the Tribune.
Heinold said his next move would be to focus on the November elections and
build up a team on the GOP side.
“We’ve got a great slate of candidates,” he said.
Heinold’s Democratic challenger in November will be Laura Shurr Blaney (see