The Porter County Council won’t welcome any new faces in 2013 but it will be
welcoming back a familiar one.
After a two-year respite, having lost in the 2010 election’s Republican
sweep, Democrat Robert Poparad will take an at-large seat on the Council
this January. Poparad earned the seat as one of the prevailing candidates in
Tuesday’s General Election.
Voters were tasked with choosing three from among three Democrat candidates
and three Republican candidates. A stronger Democrat turnout this year
resulted in the reelection of incumbents Sylvia Graham and Dan Whitten who
is the Council’s current president.
“The taxpayers of this county have given us four more years and we will work
hard for them,” said Whitten.
He, Poparad and Graham beat out all three Republican challengers -- Mark
Hoffman who recently retired as Valparaiso High School’s athletic director,
Mechanical Concepts owner Ralph Neff, and real estate appraiser and Property
Tax Assessment Board of Appeals president Joe Wszolek.
Whitten believes voters were affected by the negative mailers paid for by
the Porter County GOP insinuating County Democrats were to blame for late
property tax bills. The voters’ show of support for the Dems should
“mandate” against the use of attack ads, Whitten said.
Graham said what gave her party the edge was the hard work they all put in
campaigning vigorously in a tough race.
“I’m very indebted to the people of Porter County that they would put their
trust in me for another (term),” Graham said. She added that in light of the
recent disputes among the Council over budget matters, constituents can rest
assured that cooperation will transpire and accomplishments will be made.
“Life will go on,” she said.
Poparad also thanked the voters for their vote and vowed he will strive “to
make the county a better place to live and work.” He previously served on
the Council as its 1st District Representative for two terms.
Whitten will have a third term while this will be the second for Graham.
Graham came out as the top vote getter countywide according to unofficial
election results from the County Voters Registration with all of the
county’s 123 precincts reporting. She claimed 19.08 percent of the 192,253
total votes, while Whitten won 18.93 percent, Poparad got 17.00 percent,
Hoffman received 15.79 percent, Wszolek 14.67 percent and Neff 14.53
But in Duneland’s four townships Westchester, Liberty, Pine and Jackson,
Graham trailed Poparad’s total by four votes – 8,693 to 8,697 – according to
Tuesday’s unofficial results. Poparad, a Burns Harbor resident, was the only
Council at-large candidate running from Duneland and took 18.59 percent of
the local vote. Graham took 18.58 percent of the Duneland vote followed by
Whitten with 18.37 percent.
Republican numbers were down throughout Duneland compared with the rest of
the county. Hoffman snagged 15.58 percent of the vote, Wszolek took 14.44
percent and Neff gathered 14.42 percent.
Hoffman was the top vote getter in Jackson Twp. with 17.43 percent, followed
by Whitten with 17.09. Graham was the most popular candidate in Pine and
Liberty townships while Poparad had the highest total in Westchester Twp.,
19.72 percent of the total votes.
Official election results are to be certified by the Election Board on Nov.
16 ten days after the election.