by Eric Stearley
Wabash County residents headed for the polls on May 6 to cast their ballots in the 2014 Primary Election. When the voting centers closed, a total of 4,104 county residents had exercised their right to vote, representing 18.35 percent of those registered. While this number was significantly lower than the 5,609 who made it to the polls during the 2012 primary, (which represented 25.28 percent of registered voters) the low turnout was typical of midterm election cycles, which typically garner only 70 percent of the ballots that presidential election cycles bring.
When the votes were tallied in the most notable primary race, it was clear that Sheriff Robert E. Land came out ahead in the republican primary race for Wabash County sheriff. Land received 2,567 (72.21 percent) of the 3,605 votes cast in the race. Opponent Walter W. Woods received 24.66 percent of the votes, totaling 889, with Tim Eubank pulling in 149 votes, or 4.13 percent. The magnitude of this win surprised Sheriff Land.
“I thought it would be closer than what it was,” said Sheriff Land. “I’d like to thank everyone that supported me, and I’m asking for that support in November.”
No candidate filed to run for Wabash County Sheriff in the democratic primary.
Other notable races in the Republican Primary included:
-County Council District 1, where Claude Markstahler received 69.38 percent of the 565 total votes over Anthony DeLaughter;
-County Council District 2, where Jeff Dawes took 52.61 percent of the 825 total votes over Philip L. Dale;
-County Council District 3, where Matt Dillon took 60.65 percent of the 887 total votes over James Kaltenmark;
-Lagro Township Trustee, where Andrew DeLong took 56.69 percent of the 381 total votes over Gary Knable;
-Lagro Township Board Member, where four candidates were vying for three positions. Of the 1,023 votes cast in the race, Deb Schenkel received 29.91 percent, Lee Ann Pefley received 27.86 percent, and Rob Cole received 23.95 percent, beating out Lou Studio, who received 18.28 percent of the votes.
-State Convention Delegate, where the following 11 delegates were chosen from a field of 18 candidates in a very close race: Matt Dillon, Bonnie Kay Corn, Rob Cole, Laura Cole, Gary Nose, Dee M. Byerly, Louella J. Krom, Todd Dazey, Sandra Ferguson, Jack Ferguson, and William J. Ruppel. Ruppel beat out John W. Brunn by just 6 votes.
In the race for United States Representative for District 2, the only contested race of the democratic primary, Joe Bock beat out three opponents with 34.07 percent of the 405 total votes cast.
The six remaining township board member races in the republican primary had three open positions and each was contested by just three candidates, all of which moved through to the general election in November. Daniel J Dale, Brenda Hegel, and William Plummer split the votes in Noble Township. The same was true of the race in Chester Township, with Bret Bechtold, Wayne Stephan, and Robert Lamoine Thomas moving through to the general election. Stan Bagley, Lisa Flack, and David Hawkins split the votes in Pleasant Township. Ron Huston, Gary Nose, and Gregg A Wood split the votes in Liberty Township. Jim D. Krom, Donald Richardson, and George Zinsmeister split the votes in Paw Paw Township. David Bright, Amy Knoblock, and Jerry E. Younce split the Waltz Township votes.
The only candidates who filed for a position on a township board in the democratic primary were Glenda R. Morgan and Denise Rohrer in Pleasant Township, and with three positions available, both will go through to the general election.
Results of the uncontested races in the Wabash County republican primary were as follows: Jackie Walorski for United States Representative in District 2; Jim Banks for State Senator in District 17; David Wolkins for State Representative in District 18; Christopher M. Goff for Judge of the Superior Court; William C. Hartley, Jr. for Prosecuting Attorney in the 27th Circuit; Elaine J. Martin for Circuit Court Clerk; Lori Draper for County Recorder; Kelly Shenkel for County Assessor; Scott Givens for County Commissioner in District 2; Kyle M. Bowman for County Council in District 4; Sue Ridenour for Noble Township Trustee; Florence Dahlstrom for Chester Township Trustee; Patty Lengel-Godfroy for Liberty Township Trustee; Kraig Ahlfeld for Paw Paw Township Trustee; and Tamie White for Waltz Township Trustee.
Chad M. Harris ran unopposed in the democratic primary for the position of County Council in District 2.
All candidates in uncontested primary races will proceed to the general election, which will be held Nov. 4.