ALLEN COUNTY, Ind. (WANE) – Two Indiana statehouse incumbents on the Republican ticket in Allen County saw different outcomes at the end of the night. Representative Casey Cox lost the 85th District race, but State Senate Pro Tem David Long will have a chance to run to keep his seat in November.
“There was a grassroots effort from some people on the far right who wanted me out,” Long said. “I’m a pretty conservative guy, but not conservative enough for some.”
Long said he started preparing for an opponent in the primary in December. IPFW professor John Kessler ran against Long, but Long won easily with 73 percent of the vote. Long said he worked hard to win, going door-to-door and making a lot of phone calls.
“I had a formidable opponent in the sense of the people behind him who were very zealous in trying to knock me off,” Long said. “I think we had to work just as hard as we did, but I feel like we ran a good campaign and most importantly, the people in this area believe I’ve been doing a good job and are appreciative of the work we’ve done and it paid off tonight.”
No Democrats ran for the 16th District in the primary.
In his speech to his supports at the Allen County Republican Headquarters Tuesday night, Long also thanked Rep. Casey Cox for his service in the statehouse, saying he ran into a buzzsaw in the primary race.
“He hadn’t run a race before. He was caucused in, so this was kind of his debut,” Long told NewsChannel 15.
Cox lost to political newcomer Dave Heine, who got 59 percent of the vote.
Cox was elected to the 85th District seat in 2013 by a Republican caucus after Representative Phyllis Pond announced her resignation and lost her battle with a lung disease. Heine lost to Cox in that caucus, but he’s from New Haven, and in Cox’s words, he has 60 years of relationships in the district.
“Very early on it was apparent he was working very hard. I heard he knocked on 8,000 doors,” Cox said. “In that same time, I’m trying to practice law, I lost a grandmother, had a newborn and at the same time trying to run a campaign and deal with legislative fall-out from issues I was involved in. All the credit to him for what he did and how hard he ran. I’m honored to have that brief opportunity to serve.”
Cox was the author of the recent controversial abortion law that bans abortions based on gender, race or mental disability. He didn’t think the bill had any impact on his loss Tuesday.
“It’s a conservative district. All the feedback I got was 95 percent positive on it,” Cox said.
NewsChannel 15 left message for Heine requesting an interview, but they were not returned Tuesday night.
No Democrats ran for the 85th District in the primary.