Joe Bock won the four-way Democratic race for the 2nd District seat in the U.S. House.
Now he'll face one-term incumbent Rep. Jackie Walorski, a Republican who didn't face a primary challenger, in the November general election.
"People are eager to have a pragmatic problem solver as their representative," Bock said by phone from South Bend, where he lives.
While not all Elkhart County votes had been tallied as of late Tuesday, May 6, the Associated Press announced that Bock had won the primary. With votes counted in 81 percent of 2nd district precincts, AP reported that Bock had 8,983 votes (59 percent); Dan Morrison had 2,597 votes (17 percent); Bob Kern had 2,048 votes (14 percent); and Douglas Carpenter had 1,504 votes (10 percent).
Bock had led the way in endorsements and campaign financing among the four Democrats ahead of Tuesday's vote. He's a teaching instructor at the University of Notre Dame and served three terms in the Missouri House in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Morrison, from Elkhart, worked for many years in the recreational vehicle industry. He also ran for the 2nd District seat in 2012, finishing surprisingly strong in the Democratic primary against Brendan Mullen, who won the primary that year but lost against Walorski in the November 2012 vote.
Carpenter is an unemployed man from South Bend who stressed his long-standing personal connections in St. Joseph County. Kern actually lives in Indianapolis and has unsuccessfully run several times previously for an Indianapolis-based U.S. House post.
Bock focused his campaign effort against Walorski, not the three other Democratic hopefuls. The thrust of his message, he had said, was that the district needs "a pragmatic problem solver as opposed to someone who engages in partisan bickering," alluding to the Republican incumbent.
"We've got a locomotive," he said after his win Tuesday. "We put it on the track."
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee released a statement minutes after the Associated Press announced his victory stating that Bock "will be a fighter for the middle class and hold Congresswoman Walorski accountable for her decision to shut down the federal government and put insurance companies in charge to deny care and raise health care costs.”
Job and wage issues figured big in Morrison's message. He also said wage parity for women and creating jobs were big issues.
St. Joseph County, a Democratic stronghold in the 2nd District, plays a big role in selection of Democratic U.S. House hopefuls, largely because of its relatively big, Democratic voter base. Morrison outvoted Mullen in the 2012 Democratic primary in nine of 10 of the 2nd District Counties, but Mullen, from the South Bend area, carried St. Joseph County, securing the overall victory that year by a 54-46 margin.
Also on the ballot for the 2nd District U.S. House spot in November will be Jeff Petermann of Elkhart, running for the post as a Libertarian.
The 2nd District covers Elkhart and St. Joseph counties and all or parts of eight more north central Indiana counties. It has alternated between Democratic and Republican control over the years.