(EDITOR’S NOTE: The Mail-Journal Reporter Deb Patterson contributed to this article.)
Tuesday’s primary elections saw a disappointing voter turn out with just 19.61% of all registered voters casting ballots. Since 2002, data from Indiana Secretary of State found that roughly one in five registered Hoosier voters cast a ballot in nonpresidential election years.
Kosciusko County Republican Chairman Randy Girod said of Tuesday’s voter turn out locally, “It’s sad, disappointing.”
A total of 9,899 votes were cast. There were 10 provisional votes, which means there are questions about the voters eligibility. Of the 9,899 votes, 916 were absentee. Kosciusko County has 50,472 registered voters.
In one of the most heated contests of our area, political newcomer Curt Nisly (R-New Paris) unseated incumbent Rebecca Kubacki (R-Syracuse) for House District 22. Nisly handily won the county with 64.61 percent of the votes. District wide, Nisly received 65 percent of the votes.
Following the final tallies, Nisly said, “I’m very grateful, very honored, very humbled to accept this nomination from the Republicans for the 22nd District. We thought we were going to win; we had no idea what kind of a margin. From here, we’re going do the same thing: win the fall election, and we’re going to do it the same way we won this one. We sat down at the beginning, we made a plan, we had goals for numbers, check points along the way; we met each of those goals and checkpoints, we’re going to do the same thing for the fall election.”
Nisly added, “I want to represent the people of the 22nd District at the statehouse. Through this campaign I have listened, I have knocked on many doors, I’ve met many, many voters. I got to listen to what the people of the district are about. My goal is to represent them in a way they want … I am ready for that opportunity, I’m looking forward to working with the other representative in the statehouse and to stand up for liberty and freedom.”
Rebecca Kubacki said, “It was a good race. I got more done in four years than a lot do in their careers. (It was a) short time, but we got a lot done. You win some and lose some. I’m proud of my record — legislation regarding children, adoption and veterans. It was a great ride.”
In another big local race, Syracuse attorney David Cates won the bench for Superior Court I with 44.39% of the votes. Challengers Stephen Harris and Chad Miner received 25.53% and 30.07% respectively.
Said Cates, “It’s been a long campaign … we came together as a county, as Republicans … to provide good judiciary law for Kosciusko County. Both of my opponents are honorable gentleman and I appreciate the fact they ran clean, hard campaigns. I believe the race came down to Kosciusko County voters basing their decision on experience and I hope to live up to the confidence they placed in me.”
Bob Conley will retain his role as the southern district representative as Kosciusko County commissioner. Conley squared off against county councilman Jon Fussle but came out on top with 61.78% of the votes.
After the final numbers were tallied Conley offered, “Whew! It was a good race. I stuck to my principles in campaigning and I didn’t let the negative get to me. I stuck to my plan on how you can predict the future behavior is by past behavior. I’m very humbled by that.”
Looking forward to the fall General Election, Kosciusko County Democratic Chairman John Bonitati commented on the House District 22 race noting, “I was a little surprised by the victory of Curt Nisly over the incumbent, Representative Rebecca Kubacki. Curt Nisly holds many extreme views that don’t represent most of the constituents of the district. He would be nothing more than an obstructionist if elected to office. We need a common sense leader to make government work to improve our community and work across the political aisle. There is a choice and that leader is David Kolbe.”
Bonitati added, “We also need to focus on economic challenges that Kosciusko County will soon be facing and not be distracted by fabricated issues. Gale Owens (county commissioner Southern District), Dan Damron (county council District 4) and David Kolbe are candidates that offer clear, alternative leadership to meet the challenges.”
For a complete list of primary election results, click HERE.