To say it was close
would be putting it mildly.
member Jim Biggs prevailed in Tuesday’s Republican primary elections by just
11 votes over challenger Kyle Yelton, according to unofficial results.
The final outcome
was 1,074 votes for Biggs and 1,063 votes for Yelton, making the race for
County Council District 1 the tightest in this year’s primary.
gradually came in from the 34 precincts in District 1, Biggs and Yelton kept
edging over one another until the photo finish at the end.
Yelton held up best
in Jackson Twp., where he is originally from, capturing 61 percent of the
vote. He also did better in the two Center Twp. precincts in District 1
taking 64.9 percent.
Biggs took the lead
in all other townships, his best being Westchester Twp. where he resides,
with 55.88 percent of the vote.
In Pine Twp. he
took 54 percent of the vote and 52.11 percent in the combined total of the
Liberty Twp. precincts.
When asked if he
would be seeking a recount, Yelton told the Chesterton Tribune this
morning he hadn’t thought about it but may pursue it if there is reason to
believe the votes totals may have been different. Yelton said he did however
concede to Biggs after the results.
Yelton said he is
sad he didn’t win but is grateful for all the supportive comments made to
him during his campaign.
“Success is in the
process and not in the results. I got to meet a lot of people who told me
they supported me and why I was running. I think I did pretty well for a 26
year-old candidate. I’ve never been more humbled in all my life,” said
He thanked Biggs
for keeping it an “above the board” race and focusing on what’s best for
Porter County rather than making personal attacks. “There’s no bad blood
here. I got to know (Biggs) and found out he is a great guy.”
Both Yelton and
Biggs ended up working the polls on Primary Election Day at the Jackson Twp.
polling place. Biggs said he was impressed by Yelton’s leadership skills and
hopes he inspires more young people to get involved.
“He comes from two
wonderful parents. He has a lot of qualities I’d like to see in my own son,”
Biggs said, encouraging Yelton to keep pursuing involvement in Porter County
Yelton said he is
“decompressing” from this spring’s election and that he is interested in a
future with public service but doesn’t have any concrete plans on what
office he might pursue next.
As for the
down-to-the-wire results, Biggs said “nobody should be surprised”
considering how hard he and Yelton campaigned and that anything can happen
in a race with such a low turnout.
does count. It really, truly does,” said Biggs, adding that he thought
Tuesday’s dismal turnout was “anemic.”
Getting back to
work, Biggs said he wants to start right away talking with all local
municipalities about sharing the costs of operating the County’s E-911
dispatch center and work with Council members to straighten out county
Biggs said he felt
it bittersweet that his fellow Council member Jim Polarek, R-4th, will not
be back for a second term, but he looks forward to working with whoever
takes his place. “I’ve never worked alongside someone as principled as (Polarek).”
No Democrat has
filed against Biggs yet for the November general election, but party chairs
have until July 3 to fill ballot vacancies.
While Biggs avoided
being ousted, Polarek lost his seat to a challenger in a three-way race.
Michael Jessen beat
out Polarek, picking up 1,059 votes versus 905 votes. Coming in last was
another challenger, Union Twp. trustee Anthony Pampalone with 364 votes.
vice-president of Aldi Inc., located at the northwest corner of Division Rd.
and Ind. 49. He will face Democrat Don Ensign in the general election.
In District 3,
Republican Karen Conover won her contested race over opponent Russell “Chet”
Barone with 1,152 votes versus 993, a comfortable margin of about 54/46
percent. She is currently unopposed for November.
member Jeremy Rivas, D-2nd, faced no challenger in his primary race and so
far no Republican nomination has been made.