8 vying to fill late Roy Buskirk’s county council seat

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) Eight men will vie to fill the late Roy Buskirk’s seat on Allen County Council through year’s end.

Allen County Republicans will caucus Wednesday 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 succeed Buskirk, who died Nov. 4 – four days before he won re-election.

The candidates who precinct committee members will vote on include:

Precinct committeeman David Barrett; political consultant Justin Busch; political campaign staffer Kyle Kerley; former County Councilman Darren Vogt; Christopher Spurr; and Mark Hagar, Nathan Hartman and Kenneth Richardson, all of whom ran in the May council primary.

The local Republicans will caucus again Dec. 8 to fill Buskirk’s four-year term that begins Jan. 1.

While Republicans gather for the two caucuses, Democrats have filed a lawsuit in Allen County court, arguing 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, on behalf of Galindo, argued in the suit 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, which Republican Party Chairman Steve Shine did not do prior to the Nov. 8 election. Morris further claimed in the suit state law 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.

The case is likely to stretch well into the new year.