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Porter County Democrats maintain status quo

LaurBlaney center smiles as her friends supporters Debbie Fray left Jay Smith help celebrate early returns her effort wPorter County's

Laura Blaney, center, smiles as her friends and supporters Debbie Fray, left and Jay Smith help celebrate early returns in her effort to win Porter County's south county Board of Commissioners seat in Valparaiso Tuesday Nov. 6, 2012. | Andy Lavalley~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: December 10, 2012 6:21AM



VALPARAISO — Despite some new faces, voters maintained the party balance on both the Porter County Council and the Board of Commissioners, selecting three Democrats for at-large seats on the council and a Democrat for the open commissioners spot.

“We had hoped that the results we were going to get were actually the way they turned out,” said Jeff Chidester, chairman of the county’s Democratic Party.

Council winners were Sylvia Graham, who sought her second term on the council; Dan Whitten, the council’s president, who ran for his third term; and Bob Poparad, who previously served two terms representing District 1.

At-large Councilwoman Laura Blaney also won her bid for the South County commissioners seat.

Democrats also swept the races for surveyor and judge of Superior Court II with incumbent candidates Kevin Breitzke and William Alexa, confirming what Chidester said political pundit Charlie Cook predicted as a status quo election.

“The Republicans spent a lot of money on those negative mailers and ultimately, we ended up with status quo,” Chidester said. “I do think the negative attacks just came back to bite them.”

Council and commissioner candidates focused on a platform of jobs, education, fiscal responsibility, and protecting the proceeds from the sale of the hospital, he said.

Mike Simpson, vice chairman of the county’s Republican Party organization, said he was disappointed by Tuesday’s results, but said county Democrats — and Republicans — did what they could to drive voter turnout.

“I’m looking at it pragmatically, because voter turnout was almost as high as it was four years ago,” he said.

County Republicans had an excellent group of candidates focused on job creation and economic growth, he said, but upper level races for the Senate and presidency, which went to Democrats Joe Donelly and Barack Obama, respectively, had an effect on county races.

As far as the winners, he agreed with Chidester.

“Everything just kind of stayed the same. We’re status quo,” he said.



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