JASPER COUNTY — When election results become official, the Jasper County Council will feature two new faces beginning in 2021.
Businessmen Brian Moore of Rensselaer and Jeff DeYoung of DeMotte were voted onto the council by county voters during Tuesday’s Primary Election.
Brett Risner, who is a current council member, was the third at-large candidate elected to serve a four-year term Tuesday. Risner garnered the most votes with 2,216.
“Thank you to all that came out to vote and support me as a continued member of the Jasper County Council,” Risner said on his Facebook page. “Also those who gave their time to work the voting stations and handle all of the mail-in votes.”
The race for the other two At-Large spots involved three candidates, including Moore, DeYoung and Andy Andree, who currently serves as the council’s vice president. Both Moore and DeYoung were taking their first plunge in the political arena.
In the end, unofficial numbers show that DeYoung and Moore won spots on the council, with Andree falling just short. DeYoung captured 2,008 votes, Moore had 1,787 and Andree earned 1,779 votes. Unofficially, he fell short of retaining a seat on the council by eight votes.
“We watched the race all through the evening and I was running right there with Brett Risner most of the evening until the northern districts started to come in,” Moore said of the Keener Township voters who were familiar with DeMotte residents DeYoung and Andree. “I lost a lot of ground fast and got passed up by Jeff DeYoung, and early on everybody was congratulating me, but I said, ‘It ain’t over yet.’ But when it came down to it, they said I was eight votes ahead. Obviously I’m thankful that I got eight more people out to vote for me, I guess.”
Other candidates who fell short included John Price, Shawn Holm-Hansen and Jeff Spurgeon III.
Since there were no Democratic candidates for at-large seats, DeYoung and Moore are projected to join councilmen Risner, Paul Norwine, Rein Bontreger, Gary Fritts and Steve Jordan this winter.
With Risner and Andree currently on the council, a third at-large spot came open when current councilman Gerrit DeVries announced this winter he would not seek re-election.
In the only other contested county race, Kimberly Grow won the Recorder position, beating Christina Tryon, 61.47% to 38.53%. Grow earned 2,379 votes to Tryon’s 1,491.
Grow is currently the county’s auditor.
Final numbers from the county 29 precincts were reported at around 9:20 p.m. on the county government’s website. Voter numbers were also placed on the county clerk and county government’s Facebook pages.
Because the courthouse remains closed to the public, the old prosecutor’s office in the courthouse annex served as the central location.
The primary was originally scheduled for May 5, but was delayed statewide due to the COVID-19 health emergency.
Running unopposed in the county were Jim Walstra for Commissioner District 1, Kendell Culp for Commissioner District 2, Russell Bailey for Judge of Superior Court, Donya Jordan for Auditor, Tammy McEwan for Treasurer and Andy Boersma for Coroner.
In state races, Republican Brian Buchanan retained his State Senator District 7 seat over challengers Ethan Brown and Vernon Budde and will face Democrat Tabitha Bartley in the General Election. State Representative Doug Gutwein, who ran unopposed in the primary, will be challenged in the General Election by Democrat Mike Lovely. State Senator District 5 incumbent Ed Charbonneau also ran unopposed in the primary will face Democrat Luke Bohm in November.
Governor Eric Holcomb (Republican) and State Rep. Sharon Negele (Republican) of District 13 will run unopposed in the General Election.
U.S. Representative District 4 incumbent Jim Baird will face Democrat Joe Mackey in the General Election in November.
For complete voting results and percentages, visit the jaspercountyin.gov website.
Unofficially, only 26.30% of the 21,991 registered voters in Jasper County participated in the 2020 Primary. That’s a total of 5,783 voters, with 3,621 voting on Election Day and 1,925 voting absentee.
There were 237 walk-in absentee votes.