JASPER COUNTY — District 16 voters picked Rensselaer’s Kendell Culp as its Republican nominee to fill retiring state representative Douglas Gutwein seat in Tuesday’s Primary Election.
Culp, who is currently one of three county commissioners in Jasper County, unofficially earned 48% of the vote, beating challengers Bryan Washburn of DeMotte and Barb Neihouser of Francesville.
Washburn pulled in 2,633 votes for 31% and Neihouser had 1,382 votes for 18%. Culp had 3,779 votes covering Jasper, White and Pulaski counties. The results are unofficial.
Culp will run unopposed for the General Election in November.
In Jasper County, Culp reportedly won 54.39% of the vote to Washburn’s 33.21%. Neihouser was a distant third with 12.51%.
Culp garnered 49.33% of the votes in White County, with Washburn at 33.37% and Neihouser at 17.31%. Pulaski County didn’t have a breakdown of its voters on Tuesday night.
Gutwein announced his retirement as state representative this past winter. When his current term is exhausted, he will have served the district for 16 years.
This is Culp’s first foray in state politics after serving as a county commissioner since 2005. He has been board president since 2006 and has held several state agricultural board positions.
He was named the state’s Commissioner of the Year in 2020.
It’s the first time running for any local or state office for Washburn, who reminded voters that he is not a career politician on the campaign trail. He once served as CEO of Jasper County REMC.
Neihouser, who threw her hat in the ring late, is a former teacher and nurse.
In the State Representative District 11 race, incumbent Michael Aylesworth withstood Andy Boersma’s challenge despite losing to Boersma in Jasper County. Boersma, the current county coroner, had 49.07% of the votes in the county to Aylesworth’s 42.40%. Pierce Fletcher, who at 22 was trying to become the youngest state representative in Indiana’s history, was a distant third at 7.53%.
Aylesworth reclaimed his seat thanks to voters in Lake and Porter counties. He is a native of Hebron.
Running unopposed Tuesday were county officials Jacob Taulman (prosecutor), Kara Fishburn (clerk), Patrick Williamson (sheriff), Vince Urbano (surveyor), Rein Bontrager (county commissioner District 3), Paul Norwine (council District 1), Gary Fritts (council District 2), Steve Jordan (council District 3) and Jason Armold (council District 4).
Armold is new to county politics, while Bontrager will make the leap from county council to commissioner, filling Dick Maxwell’s spot. Maxwell announced his retirement as commissioner this past winter.
Voters also cast ballots for U.S. Senator Todd Young, U.S. Representative District 4 Jim Baird, State Senator District 6 Rick Niemeyer and State Representative District 13 Sharon Negele. All ran unopposed.