By Leah Sander
WARSAW — Kosciusko County Coroner Tony Ciriello is one step closer to being a member of the Kosciusko County Council.
And incumbent County Councilmember Kim Cates and County Commissioner Bob Conley also secured Republican nominations with victories Tuesday, May 3.
All three topped the GOP primary in their respective races on Tuesday.
Ciriello, a former sheriff’s deputy and police chief, bested Scott Clay and Josh Lozano, taking 51.47% of the vote to Clay’s 40.36% and Lozano’s 8.17%.
Ciriello had 1,297 votes. Clay had 1,017 votes. Lozano had 206.
The three were seeking to fill the county council District 3 seat held by Ernie Wiggins who decided not to run for re-election.
“I’m very excited,” Ciriello told InkFreeNews regarding his election victory Tuesday, later adding that he was thankful to voters and others that helped him achieve the win.
Ciriello embraced an “Experience Matters” slogan for his campaign. He told InkFreeNews that he believed that voters took into account his numerous years of experience when they made their choice at the polls.
In addition to being in his second term as coroner, Ciriello also served as a Kosciusko County Sheriff’s deputy for 18 years and the Syracuse Police Chief for 10 years.
Ciriello said he would resign as coroner at the end of the year if he wins in November. If that happens, the Kosciusko County Republican Party would appoint somebody through a caucus to fill the remainder through the end of 2024.
Ciriello said he wants to make sure the council continues “to be fiscally responsible.”
He noted he has concerns about the economy with inflation being so high.
“We don’t know what the economy’s going to be like in the next couple of years,” he said.
Cates told InkFreeNews that she was happy to win the GOP primary for her county council District 1 seat and “blessed” to have the support of her family, friends and voters.
It’s the first time she’s won an election to council, having been caucused in two times previously.
She beat challenger Todd Davis, gaining 56.53% of the vote to his 43.47%. Cates collected 1,424 votes compared to 1,095 for Davis.
Her win Tuesday also means that the council has a better chance to continue to have more women than men on it, with the balance currently 4-3.
Cates said that she believed she won due to voters just taking into account that she was doing what she needed to through her council role.
“I just need to do my job,” she said regarding what she focused on during the primary election season.
She noted there were several issues she wanted to focus on if she wins the general election.
Those include helping get more roadwork funded. Cates noted the state has restrictions on how counties are allowed to spend money to fix their roads.
Conley took 50.54% of the vote in the race for Kosciusko County’s southern district commissioner over Don Wiesehan Jr.’s 26.07%, Brian Pyle’s 15.31% and Elaine Kokenge’s 8.08%.
Conley had 5,051 votes. Wiesehan had 2,606. Pyle had 1,530. Kokenge had 808.
Conley is finishing his fourth term as commissioner.
He was unable to be reached for comment on Tuesday night.