Democrats Emerge Victorious in Starke County

Democratic Party DonkeyElection Day was all about the Democrats in Starke County.

“We had a strong bunch of candidates this time. Not only that, but we had the backing of the Democrat Party. Everyone worked together and we were able to do stuff for the candidates that we haven’t done in the past. The bottom line was it paid off,” Democratic Party Chairman Kenny Wallace said.

Longtime Sheriff’s Deputy Bill Dulin posted a solid victory over Republican Bill Bope in his quest to succeed term-limited Sheriff Oscar Cowen. Dulin plans to take a comprehensive look at how the department is run.

“We’re going to sit back and plan what we need to change. Some immediate changes are going to happen, but long-term goals, too. You’ve got to get everything planned before you just jump in and don’t have anything planned yet,” Dulin said.

Bope remained gracious in defeat.

“I’m not sure exactly what is ahead of me. I always believe you take it one step at a time. Most importantly to me I want to glorify my Lord Jesus Christ. I believe he leads my footsteps. Wherever he leads me, I’ll walk through that door,” Bope said.

Incumbent Starke County Prosecutor Nick Bourff also won big over Republican challenger Tim Lemon. He plans to track the progress of criminal defendants during his second term.

“Right now we’re seeing some of these offenders who have been sentenced and gone through treatment the past four years. Now they’re starting to come out of that, and so it’s a little too early to tell how successful these people are. Going forward from now I’d like to start tracking that. Whether it’s incarcerated time, home detention, probation, and any range of treatments offered in those three programs. I want to see what is working, what is not working and adjust what we’re doing accordingly,” Bourff said.

Democrat Vicki Cooley also beat Republican Bernadette Welter-Manuel in the Starke County Clerk’s Race. She will succeed Evelyn Skronski, who is retiring. Democrat Brad Hazelton beat Republican Talia Reed in the council district 1 race. Jennifer Davis edged Tony Radkiewicz, Sr. in the district 2 race. Unofficial results also indicate Democrat Pam Stalbaum beat Republican Don White by two votes.