Judge sides with election board, GOP in fight over county council seat

Justin Busch will retain the at-large seat on Allen County Council

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) An Allen County judge has denied a petition from a former County Council candidate who argued for his rightful place on the body because the incumbent candidate died before the November election.

Judge Craig Bobay on Wednesday ruled in favor of the Allen County Election Board and the Allen County Republican Party and upheld the election of Justin Busch to fill the seat of the late Roy Buskirk, according to local Republican Party chairman Steve Shine.

Buskirk died four days before the Nov. 8 election. Afterward, Democrats filed a lawsuit alleging his re-election to the seat was null and void and fourth-place candidate Palermo Galindo should have been declared victorious.

Among other things, Galinda has contended Buskirk was ineligible to be a candidate (because he had died), and therefore should not have been on the ballot.

Republicans maintained they followed proper procedure – and the Allen County Election Board agreed – and the party subsequently held a caucus, where Justin Busch was unanimously chosen to fill Buskirk’s vacant seat.

Last month, Bobay suggested the two sides move toward a special election because “it’s the only way the will of the people will be known,” but took the case under advisement.