A closer look at the numbers from Tuesday’s primary reveals some interesting things:
Elkhart Superior Court 2 Judge Stephen Bowers is the most popular official in Elkhart County, at least among those who appeared on the ballot.
The GOP U.S. Senate race between incumbent Dick Lugar and challenger Richard Mourdock generated the most voter interest here, even more than the GOP presidential primary.
Democratic U.S. House hopeful Brendan Mullen lost in nine of the 10 counties of the Second District and won the primary only because of strong support in St. Joseph County.
Here’s a breakdown of some of the data:
Top vote-getters: Bowers, a Republican seeking re-election to his judgeship, mustered 16,101 votes, most of anyone on the ballot here. Of course being unopposed on the ballot helped.
Next was GOP gubernatorial hopeful and current U.S. Rep. Mike Pence, also unopposed in his primary, with 16,055 votes. Third was Elkhart Superior Court 6 Judge David Bonfiglio, a Republican, also unopposed, with 15,898 tallies. Republican U.S. House candidate Jackie Walorski came in fourth with 15,569 votes, even though she faced a challenger in her contest, Greg Andrews, who drew 3,958 votes.
U.S. Rep. Joe Donnelly, D-Granger, vying for the U.S. Senate, got the most votes of any Democrat, 2,635. President Obama mustered 2,585.
Most-watched races: The Lugar-Mourdock race generated the most votes of any of the contests on the Elkhart County ballot, 19,945. That’s not too surprising — the contest got a ton of media buzz, all the way up to the national level, and political action commitees pumped plenty of money into the race. Mourdock’s margin of victory here was 61.9 percent-38.1 percent, not far off the 60.3 percent-39.7 percent statewide split.
The Second District GOP U.S. House race — won by Walorski, as mentioned above — followed, with a total of 19,527 ballots cast. Third was the Republican presidential race, with 19,164 votes. Presumptive nominee Mitt Romney won here, as he did statewide, drumming up 12,351 votes.
Next was the GOP race for the District 2 seat on the Elkhart County Board of Commissioners between incumbent Mike Yoder and challenger Darryl Riegsecker. That mustered 18,751 votes, with Yoder edging Riegsecker for the win.
The race for three at-large seats on the Elkhart County Council generated 44,589 votes, but each voter could cast ballots for up to three hopefuls, so it’s unclear exactly how many individual voters weighed-in.
District 2: Though Mullen pulled out a victory over Dan Morrison in the Democratic race for Indiana’s District 2 U.S. House seat, he did so without majority support in nine of the 10 counties of the district.
Morrison, of Elkhart, mustered more votes in Elkhart, Fulton, Kosciusko, LaPorte, Marshall, Miami, Pulaski, Starke and Wabash counties, with a total haul in the nine counties of 4,914 votes compared to 4,226 for Mullen. Mullen, of South Bend, made up the ground in his native St. Joseph County, winning there by a 6,992 to 4,601 margin, enough to secure overall victory, 11,218 votes to 9,515.
Republicans pounced on Morrison’s showing. The GOP standard-bearer, Jackie Walorski, thumped Republican foe Greg Andrews, 46,882 votes to 17,519, a 72.8 percent-27.2 percent margin.
“Well that was embarrassing,” began a tongue-in-cheek email blast Wednesday from the National Republican Congressional Committee, which backs Walorski. Mullen, the email continued, “squeaked out a victory by a 1,700-vote margin to an unknown candidate who didn’t even register with the (Federal Election Commission).”
Even Second District Green Party hopeful Andrew Straw chimed in. “Morrison’s upstart campaign of three months did fabulously well given the vast amount of wealth Mullen had at his disposal from special interests and party bigwigs supporting him,” Straw said in an email.
National Democrats, meanwhile, focused their claws on Walorski, noting that she lost the District 2 race two years ago because she backs an “extreme agenda.” Washington Republicans are “doubling-down on Walorski,” the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee said in a statement, “because they know she will be a loyal vote in Washington to end Medicare and protect tax breaks for millionaires...”
Mullen, making his first run for office, has generated support from Democratic Party leaders and drummed up nearly $550,000 in donations through March 31, compared to zero for Morrison. He had only spent around $97,000 of the total, though, perhaps looking to save resources for the electoral battle leading to the November general election.
Turnout: Overall, 23,122 of Elkhart County’s 122,152 registered voters cast ballots Tuesday, resulting in a 18.9 percent turnout.
The precinct with the highest turnout, 35.52 percent, was Elkhart 19, around where the Greencroft retirement home in Goshen is located. Next, with 32.8 percent turnout, was Elkhart 15, north of Greencroft and around Fidler’s Pond, also in Goshen.
Third, with 31.61 percent turnout, was Osolo 15, centered around Greenleaf Boulevard between Jeanwood Drive and C.R. 15, just outside eastern Elkhart.