Local GOP calls caucus to replace Buskirk on county council

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) The Allen County Republican Party has scheduled a caucus to name a new County Council At-Large member to serve out the late Roy Buskirk’s current term. Buskirk died Nov. 4 at age 72.

The late Buskirk won re-election Tuesday.

County Councilman Roy Buskirk
County Councilman Roy Buskirk

Local Republicans will caucus Nov. 30 at 6:30 p.m. at party headquarters, 135 W. Main St. in downtown Fort Wayne. Precinct committeemen will vote on an At-Large council member to serve through year’s end.

After the Allen County Election Board certifies vote totals next week, the Republican party will caucus again to select a replacement for Buskirk’s four-year term that will begin Jan. 1.

Buskirk had been undergoing treatment for cancer and recently began hospice care. He had served on County Council, the county’s redevelopment commission, the Allen County Plan Commission, and the Joint Permitting Oversight Board, and was recognized for his conservative leadership and values.

While Republicans plan to continue that type of conservative leadership on council, Allen County Democrats have argued that Buskirk’s postmortem re-election was null and void and the fourth place candidate, Democrat Palermo Galindo, should win the seat.

Allen County Democratic Party Chairman Jack Morris this week that Indiana Code cites the death of a candidate creates a “late candidate vacancy” which allows for the party chairman to appoint a candidate to fill the spot. State law further states that “a vote cast for a candidate who ceases to be a candidate may not be counted as a vote for a successor candidate,” Morris said.

A day before Tuesday’s election, though, the Allen County Election Board met and by unanimous vote determined no changes to the ballot needed to be or could be made.

Even after the caucuses and the Election Board’s certification, the debate is likely to end up in front of a judge. Both sides told NewsChannel 15 this week that they are prepared to take their arguments to court.