Lake, Porter County Election Highlights

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November 5, 2014 — Lakeshore Public Media staff —

County Sheriff:  The unofficial results of yesterday’s election show that Lake County Sheriff John Buncich will remain in office for another four years, and Dave Reynolds is returning to become Porter County Sheriff.

Buncich beat GOP challenger Dan Bursac, with 63-percent of the vote to Bursac’s 36-percent.  It was Bursac’s  fourth attempt to win the office of sheriff.

Bursac criticized Buncich’s record of managing the problem-plagued Lake County Jail, but Buncich said the jail was a problem that he inherited from his predecessor Roy Dominguez, and federal compliance has steadily improved. He vowed he would end federal oversight next year.

In Porter County, Sheriff Dave Lain could not run for another term of office, and voters chose Dave Reynolds over Valparaiso Police Chief Mike Brickner by a narrow margin.  The unofficial totals showed Reynolds with 50.5 percent to Brickner’s 49.4-percent.

Reynolds had earlier served 21 years with the Portage Police Department, including three years as chief, before running the first time for Sheriff. He served two separate terms as Porter County Sheriff between 1999 and 2006.

Brickner campaigned on his strength as a current city police chief, and said that Reynolds’ work as a private consultant put him out-of-touch on local law enforcement issues.  Reynolds says his consultant’s experience gave him the chance to see police operations around the world.

Lake County Assessor: Jerome Prince beat incumbent Jolie Covaciu  to become the next Lake County Assessor.  The unofficial final tally showed Prince, who said is a registered assessor, picked up 57-percent of the vote to Covaciu’s 42-percent.

Covaciu filled the vacancy left with the death of County Assessor Hank Adams — who was, at the time, the first Republican in five decades to win an elected Lake County government post.
Lake County Council: Republican Dan Dernulc  beat Democratic opponent Katy Dowling to keep his 4th District seat on the Lake County Council.  Dernulc got 58-percent of the final vote to Dowling’s 41-percent.  David Hamm also won re-election to the County Council, with 67-percent over Brian Sears’ 32-percent.  Incumbents Elsie Franklin and Jamal Washington easily won re-election.

Town Council: The unofficial final vote counts also show that incumbent Dyer Town Councilmembers Jeff Dekker, Debbie Astor and Mary Tanis all won second terms in yesterday’s election.  All three are Republicans.

Voters in Lowell chose two new members of the Town Council: LeAnn Angerman and Chris Salatas, Jr., both Republicans.

In Schererville, Republican Kevin Connelly defeated Democrat Eric Kundich for the 2nd Ward council seat and Democrat Tom Schmitt edged out Republican David Bell in the 4th Ward.

County Prosecutor:  Lake County Prosecutor Bernard Carter ran unopposed, but Porter County Prosecutor Brian Gensel had an opponent in yesterday’s election: local attorney Stacey Whitten, the wife of Porter County Councilman Dave Whitten.  Gensel won re-election, 54-percent to Whitten’s 45-percent.
Porter County offices: Porter County Auditor Bob Wichlinkski lost his re-election bid yesterday to Vicki Urbanik, by about one-thousand votes.  Urbanik garnered 51-percent of vote to Wichlinski’s 48-percent.

County Clerk Karen Martin also won re-election by defeating Democratic challenger Kathy Kozuszek, 53-percent to Kathy’s 46-percent.


Indiana House, Senate regional races:

The unofficial return results from both Lake and Porter Counties show that State Representative Shelli Vandeburgh lost her re-election bid to GOP challenger Julie Olthoff — but by the slimmest of margins.  Olthoff won by only 127 votes in Lake County and by 184 votes in Porter County.

Vandenburgh told the “Times” while the votes were being tallied last night that she was staying positive, even though Republican candidates had been victorious across the state.  Olthoff said she’d wait until results were in before commenting.

Vanenburgh’s campaign focused on jobs and education and called for empowering the middle class and providing tools for growth for small businesses. Olthoff ran a campaign on  a promise to be serious about creating jobs.  She also called for term limits — Vandenburgh’s been in the Indiana House for seven years.
Porter County voters sent State Representative Ed Soliday back to Indianapolis for another term, choosing him with 55-percent of the unofficial vote to Deb Porter’s 44-percent.

Porter County voters sent State Representative Ed Soliday back to Indianapolis for another term, choosing him with 55-percent of the unofficial vote to Deb Porter’s 44-percent.

Chuck Moseley won re-election, beating challenger John Johnston, and Mike Aylesworth won the District 11 seat over challenger Jim Metro in a district that is in both Porter and Lake Counties.


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