Chesterton Tribune

Porter Republicans oust incumbent in primary voting

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Town of Porter voters have spoken.

Republican Kenneth Timm will be the GOP’s Ward 1 candidate in the November general election after defeating incumbent first-term Town Council member Todd Martin 150 to 113 Tuesday.

Timm will face Democrat William Cantrell, who received 180 votes in his unopposed primary race.

Commented Martin, “Am I disappointed I lost? Certainly, but Ken will do fine and he has my support. The end of the day the future of the town is what’s important. I don’t think the vote says people on the Republican side are anti-growth.”

Martin also speculated the Town Council’s earlier effort to assume direct supervision over Park Department employees was misunderstood and never fully explained. “It was a PR nightmare more than anything. Our message didn’t get out and resonate.”

Timm, who hugged his wife Lori when the vote totals confirmed his victory at the Porter County administration center in Valparaiso, said he really likes Cantrell and challenging him will be tough.

The battle to replace retiring Republican councilman Dave Babcock in Ward 3 saw Rob Pomeroy outlast his GOP primary opponent Ron Bush in a 158 to 112 victory. No Democratic challenger has filed for the seat.

According to Pomeroy, “I was surprised by the turnout today. It was more than I thought. It was a good sign. I think the people of Porter have something to say and they voted.”

The night’s other contested primary race saw Democrat Greg Stinson victorious with 185 votes over William Suarez, who tallied 27. Stinson will run against Ward 5 incumbent GOP council member Michele Bolliger in the fall.

Bollinger garnered 164 votes as did Republican councilman Trevin Fowler, who was the lone GOP candidate seeking re-election in Ward 4. His November opponent, Elka Nelson, also was unopposed and received 211 votes in the Democratic party’s Ward 4 council contest.

Republican Jeannine Virtue coasted to the Town Council Ward 2 nomination unopposed with 197 votes; no Democratic challenger has filed. The winner will replace outgoing GOP councilman Jon Granat, who did not seek re-election.

The night’s top vote-getter was incumbent Republican clerk-treasurer Carol Pomeroy with 215 ballots cast in the four precincts where Porter voters live. Pomeroy, a Porter resident since 1969, is seeking a third term and currently has no Democratic opponent.

Rob Pomeroy is Carol Pomeroy’s nephew by marriage.

Candidates and voters alike mingled Tuesday in bi-partisan conversations outside the busy Porter town hall where voting occurred. Nelson said she and Stinson worked well across party lines with both Pomeroys, Virtue and Timm to raise issues and campaign effectively.

Virtue added, “We worked very hard; we want to work together as a group to get good people in.” As a former newspaper reporter and campaign-committee volunteer, Virtue said it’s strange to be making news. “I’ve always been behind the scenes so it’s odd to be here.”

She, as did Stinson, said residents had expressed to them a desire to be heard and respected by elected officials.

Stinson also said residents told him although they kept reading about big projects proposed for Porter, their concern was whether enough was being done to ensure basic town services are provided to make the town run right day-to-day.

Timm, who owns a local Porter business, said, “I’d see most people all day every day. They were mainly concerned about not what’s being done but how (town officials) have gone about doing that.”

A Porter Beach resident, Nelson said that neighborhood showed a big turnout at the polls, in part because they haven’t had a candidate from there for some time and because of concerns over what impact the town’s proposed Gateway tourism/economic development initiative would have on year-round beachers.

During the campaign Bollinger’s committee sent a mailing to Porter voters featuring herself, Bush, Fowler and Martin citing jobs, lower property taxes and quality senior living because of the planned Brickyard Project on Beam Street, for which the town purchased land for $350,000. Nelson countered with a newspaper ad detailing results of a previous environmental study of the site that she said raised serious doubts whether the Brickyard property should be developed.




Posted 5/4/2011