Chesterton Tribune

 

 

Republicans tune out, not turn out, in Porter County primary

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By KEVIN NEVERS

The big story of the June 2 primary election in both Porter County and Duneland is the precipitous drop in voter turnout from four years ago.

In 2016, fully 40 percent of all registered voters in the county cast ballots; 42 percent of them did in Duneland.

This year, voter turnout in Porter County plummeted to 26 percent; in Duneland, to 28 percent.

But thatís only part of the story: Republicans and Democrats didnít tune out in equal measure. In 2016, 53 percent of Porter County voters cast a Republican ballot; while only 47 percent of Democrats did. On June 2, that ratio was turned upside down: Republicans accounted for only 40 percent of the vote; Democrats, 60 percent.

The raw numbers are even more striking. In 2016, Republicans in the county pulled 26,402 ballots; on June 2, that number dropped by almost half, to 13,438 or 49 percent.

In 2016, Democrats pulled 23,053 ballots; on June 2, that number dropped by only 13 percent, to 20,071.

That trend was duplicated on June 2 in Duneland, where Democrats out-voted Republicans in 26 out of 30 precincts, casting 1,624 more raw votes. In 2016 in Duneland, Donald Trump and Ted Cruz took between them 5,803 votes, 170 more than the 5,633 taken by Hilary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.

To be sure, 2020 isnít 2016. Four years ago Cruz was the last man standing between Trump and the nomination, in the days before the GOP capitulated to Trump. This year Trump is running unopposed, but for the quixotic Bill Weld, Even so, there was one local race which might have been expected to shivvy more Republicans to the polls on June 2: Jeff Larsonís high-profile challenge of Porter County Commissioner Jim Biggs.

And speaking of Bill Weld: quixotic he may be, but Weld still stripped Trump of 940 votes in Porter County, or 7 percent of the total; and 43,930 in the state, or 8 percent.

Consider this as well: on June 2, Gov. Eric Holcomb, running unopposed for the Republican nomination, out-polled Trump in raw votes, both in Duneland (3,142 votes to Trumpís 2,991); and in Porter County (12,864 votes to Trumpís 12,161).

Statewide, Trump and Weld together combined for 537,781 votes, slightly more than Holcombís 527,673 votes. But in 2016, 996,740 voters cast ballots either for Trump or Cruz, 28 percent more votes than the 778,165 garnered by Mike Pence, running unopposed for the Republican gubernatorial nomination.

Stipulated that thereís no way enough evidence to posit an enthusiasm deficit among Republican voters in Duneland, Porter County, or Indiana. The postponement of the primary election, the popularity of mail-in ballots, a fear of voting in person in the midst of pandemic: any or all of these may have skewed turnout in ways impossible to calculate and not to be repeated in the general election on Nov. 3.

For the record:

-- The Duneland precinct with the highest turnout rate: Westchester 3, with 37 percent (bordered by 1100N, South Fifth Street, Union Ave. and Jefferson Ave., and South Calumet Road)

-- The Duneland precinct with the lowest turnout rate: Westchester 17, with 12 percent  (the sliver of the township which falls within the City of Portage.)

-- Jeff Larson didnít do much better against Jim Biggs in Duneland than he did countywide: Biggs took 58 percent of the votes in Duneland, compared to Larsonís 42 percent; and 60 percent countywide, to Larsonís 40 percent.

 

Posted 6/22/2020

 

 

 
 
 
 

 

 

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