By David Slone
WARSAW — There’s been a shakeup in the Republican primary in races for Kosciusko County Council at-large and the northern district county commissioner seat.
Kosciusko County at-large incumbent Councilwoman Sue Ann Mitchell, Warsaw, isn’t running for re-election to the council after all.
She withdrew her filing for council and then filed to run for county commissioner representing the northern district.
Brad Jackson, the current commissioner for the northern district, did not file for re-election by Friday’s noon deadline.
However, Syracuse Town Councilman Nate Scherer, Syracuse, and Marcia Baumgartner, Milford, have filed for the Republican nomination for the seat, making it a three-way race for the commissioner seat.
Additionally, incumbent at-large Councilwoman Joni Truex told the Times-Union on Thursday that she will not seek re-election after serving two four-year terms.
With Truex out and Mitchell running for commissioner, that leaves Kathy Groninger as the only incumbent at-large councilwoman seeking re-election to the council. She is joined by Rachael Rhoades and Delynn Geiger as Republicans vying for the three at-large council positions.
Mitchell had filed for County Council at-large for her third term on Feb. 2, but many shared their concern for the Commissioner Northern District position and encouraged her to withdraw and refile for the commissioner’s race, according to a news release provided Friday afternoon.
Mitchell said, “Filing for the County Council at-large position was the easy path to continue doing what I have done for the last eight years. After a great deal of soul searching, this is much like in 1998, when I filed for assessor and then changed the filing to auditor because the county needed a county auditor candidate. I was successful in that election and served two terms as auditor. I did not make this decision lightly. I would like to continue serving Kosciusko County in a position where I can make the most difference. After I filed for the council, there were other signs that helped lead me to change the filing today to commissioner northern district.”
She continued, “I served as the secretary for the commissioners for eight years as county auditor where I prepared the information for their meetings so informed decisions could be made. I have knowledge of the commissioners’ duties and responsibilities along with understanding the issues that come before them for consideration.
“I have nothing personal to gain. I have always tried to be well informed in all decisions that need to be made and am up to speed in what is going on in Kosciusko County government. I strongly believe in annual maintenance of all county property while working within the budget, working with the county highway to continue to use money wisely to improve roads and bridges. I would like to be at the table for long-term decisions and planning for the county, so we do not miss opportunities to better the community within budget. I look forward to being able to continue to serve the residents of Kosciusko County as the northern district county commissioner,” Mitchell concluded.
In a statement Friday afternoon, Truex said, “It has been a privilege and an honor to serve on the Kosciusko County Council. Thank you for the opportunity to serve you. This is my eighth year and I have decided not to seek re-election and will begin a new chapter in my life.”
There were no other changes or filings for the primary by Friday’s noon deadline.
Previously, incumbent Cary Groninger, Mentone, filed for middle district commissioner.
Matthew Buehler, Warsaw, filed for Circuit Court judge, to replace retiring Judge Mike Reed, as did Jack Birch, North Webster.
Ryan Prince, Winona Lake, and James Moyer, Etna Green, filed for surveyor. Incumbent is Mike Kissinger, who is not seeking re-election.
Melissa Boggs, Warsaw, has thrown her name in for county clerk. Ann Torpy is the incumbent but due to term limits she can not seek re-election.
Michelle Puckett, Mentone, incumbent county treasurer, is seeking re-election.
Incumbent Tyler Huffer, Warsaw, has competition with Tracy Wilson, Leesburg, for county coroner.
Local offices on the ballot in 2024 include Kosciusko Circuit Court judge, clerk of the circuit court, treasurer, coroner, surveyor, northern district county commissioner, middle district county commissioner, three county council at-large seats, Republican precinct committeemen, Republican state convention delegates and Democratic state convention delegates.
School board filing begins May 21 and runs through noon June 20.
Board seats up for election this fall are District 1 and 2, Tippecanoe Valley School Board; Scott and Jefferson Township and two at-large positions, Olive Township, Elkhart County, Wa-Nee School Board; Districts 1, 2 and 3, Whitko School Board; one at-large seat and District 3 Marshall County, Triton School Board; Districts 3, 4 and 6, Warsaw Community Schools; and Districts 1, 2 and 3, Wawasee School Board.
For more information on the election, visit the county’s website at kcgov.com and click on the elections link.