By Dan Spalding
A little over three years ago, Cary Groninger said he had no idea he and his wife, Kathy, would both become elected officials.
Cary Groninger was appointed through a caucus three years ago and with Tuesday’s victory, he will now begin his first full term as a county commissioner.
Coinciding, Kathy was elected Tuesday in her first bid for office as an at-large county council member. She won the primary with the most votes against three incumbents and was on top of the pile this week in a six-person race that included three Democrats.
The fact a newcomer in a crowded race received the most votes is noteworthy. And while the fact this couple will now sit on the two most important county boards, it did not seem to be a concern for voters.
So what is behind such a solid campaign?
You could say the couple has been cultivating connections and respect throughout the county for decades, in part through the family business, G&G Hauling & Excavating, of Warsaw.
In a candid moment during a forum in Warsaw a few weeks ago, Cary said G&G had probably dug dirt in all 554 square miles of the county over the course of three generations for the family company.
“Most people in the community know my father, Tom, and my grandfather, Cary, who I’m named after,” he said, adding that the family has benefited from a reputation of being good, honest, hardworking people that have always looked for ways to serve the community.”
He said he had had an interest in serving, but admits that it happened a little quicker than expected because of the caucus.
Are the Groningers the new Rovenstines and McSherrys of K-County government? The use of terms like “power couple” and “dynasty” should be reserved for a decade or so from now – if ever.
But 2020 will be remembered as the year they established a good foundation.
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NEW ERA – Unless you live under a rock, you’ve probably had your fill of presidential election news by now after Joe Biden was declared the winner Saturday over President Trump. So I’ll keep it simple.
America is waking up to a new era. The country has a chance to be more united than it’s been in a while. We all need to give it a chance and pull in the right direction.
Trump has much to contemplate going forward as he considers his options. An editorial In the Murdoch-owned New York Post – the media source for much of the Hunter Biden hype – summed it up well in an editorial directed at Trump on Sunday. “It undermines faith in democracy, and faith in the nation, to push baseless conspiracies. Get Rudy Giuliani off TV. Ask for the recounts you are entitled to, wish Biden well, and look to the future.”
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ELECTION TIDBITS – A few thoughts, at-large:
- President Trump received 26,476 votes in Kosciusko County, which was 2,567 more than in 2016. In both years, he gained 74 percent of the vote.
- Turns out, Indiana is as Republican as ever. That’s certainly the case in Kosciusko County. Some Republican candidates who had challengers exceeded 80 percent of the vote. In the two closest races, Curt Nisly (State District 22) and Chad Miner (Superior Court 3) held off their opponents, Kelly Thompson and Antony Garza (respectfully), with about 70 percent of the vote.
- Democrats provided numerous options on the local ballot. Many of them were energized in part by the Black Lives Matter, but it didn’t make much difference at the ballot box, other than more choices on the ballot.
- The one aberration for Republicans was in the governor’s race. Sure, Gov. Eric Holcomb won with ease, but the pandemic and his response enabled Libertarian Donald Rainwater to pull substantial votes from the incumbent and win more votes than Democrat Woody Myers. Rainwater picked up 6,838 Kosciusko voters, compared to 23,007 voters for Holcomb, who finished with 64.5% of the vote. Myers finished with 5,774 votes – just16.2% of the county vote.
- Voter turnout was 66.3 percent.
- County Clerk Ann Torpy said early voting broke a record every day compared to 2016 – or for that matter – since she began working in the office in 1994.
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ADMIRABLE POLL QUESTION – Some readers were a bit annoyed with this week’s poll question, which asked who is most admired, Mike Pence, Pete Buttigieg or Amy Coney Barrett? Someone suggested the question pitted two conservatives against the liberal Buttigieg in an effort to split the vote and elevate the former mayor. Not true.
Buttigieg maintained a slight lead over Pence for the entire week, which is kind of remarkable. The South Bend resident has had an incredible year. He emerged as a top-tier candidate for president, could end up in a cabinet position and has become a reliable and outspoken guest on Fox News.
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Dan Spalding is the editor at InkFreeNews.com.
He covers city government and politics and always welcomes your input.
He can be reached at [email protected] or at (574) 855-7612.