Laura Shurr Blaney took over for Carole Knoblock on the County Council
nearly eight years ago when Knoblock was elected to the Porter County Board
Now Blaney will succeed Knoblock a second time taking the reins as South
County Commissioner. Blaney, a Democrat, easily won her race Tuesday over
Republican opponent Mike Heinold of Morgan Twp. garnering 58.94 percent of
the vote countywide.
According to unofficial figures from the County Voters Registration Office
with all of the county’s 123 precincts reporting, Blaney received 40,601
votes countywide to Heinold’s 28,280 votes.
The race was a little tighter in Duneland – Liberty, Jackson, Pine and
Westchester townships – where Blaney took 9,491 votes compared to Heinold’s
7,108, a percentage ratio of 57.2 to 42.8.
Considering Duneland, Blaney performed strongest in Westchester Twp. and
weakest in Jackson Twp. where a few more Republican straight ticket votes
were cast but Blaney still captured the majority there by about 6 percent.
Heinold claimed just two Duneland precincts – Jackson 1 and Westchester 14.
Blaney, a Porter Twp. resident, said she will be the County’s only full-time
Commissioner. She has served a total of six years on the County Council.
“I’m excited to have the opportunity to do things for the good of the
county,” she said.
Blaney told the Tribune after her win Tuesday that one of her first
undertakings will be to make progress with Lakeshore PAWS on building a new
animal shelter facility for the county.
As an outgoing County Council member, she will also make the effort to
“bridge the gap” and improve communication between the Council and the board
of commissioners. Members on both boards have had arguments recently over
the 2013 County Budgets involving the use of income tax money and proposed
raises. “People just want to see us work together,” Blaney said.
Blaney and her husband are the former owners of Kelsey Steak House in
Portage and Valparaiso and currently run One Guy with Tools.
Heinold ran his campaign on the hopes of bringing more infrastructure and
jobs to the County. Another goal of his was to synergize the ideas of each
After his defeat, Heinold expressed his gratitude to all his supporters and
his congratulations to Blaney and all the other winning candidates.
“I support them and encourage them all in the common goal of moving Porter
County forward,” Heinold told the Tribune. A newcomer to politics,
Heinold said as of now he has no inclination to run again for public office.
Blaney was the only one of three County Council members to succeed in
securing a Commissioner seat in the 2012 elections. Fellow Council members
Jim Biggs, R-1st, and Jim Polarek, R-4th, made attempts to change office but
were defeated in May’s primary elections.
Meanwhile, Porter County voters were also asked to elect a candidate for
North County Commissioner. Republican incumbent John Evans ran unopposed and
took 100 percent of the vote with a countywide total of 43,682 according to
Tuesday’s unofficial results. He will begin his fourth term in January.
Blaney is the lone Democrat on the GOP-dominated Board of Commissioners.
Republican Nancy Adams holds the Commissioner seat for the Center district.
Her term is up in 2014.