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Friends to face off for sheriff


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Throughout  the years, North Vernon Police Officer Gary Driver and Jennings County Sheriff’s Deputy Dave Turner have frequently met for breakfast between their shifts on duty. However, Tuesday was a little different.

Driver was seeking the Democratic nomination for Jennings County sheriff, and Turner was hoping to win the Republican nomination for sheriff.

In all, seven candidates sought their party’s nomination for sheriff in the primary, making it the spotlight race. Driver ran against fellow Sheriff’s Deputy Jerry Shepherd. Turner had four competitors for the Republican ticket: Al Carnahan, Steven Frey, Jerry Lucas and Karen Ritchie.

After 4,763 Jennings County voters cast their ballots, the nominations were decided. November’s race for sheriff would be between the two longtime friends.

“It won’t be a big deal between us; we will still be friends,” Turner said.

“We’ll let the people decide in the fall. Either way, it will turn out OK,” Driver added.

While that race was being decided in Jennings County, 19 counties were deciding the Democratic nomination for U.S. House representative for Indiana’s 6th District.

North Vernon resident Susan Heitzman surprised a lot of people when she soundly defeated Ohio County attorney Lane Siekman and Fayette County business owner Corinne Westerfield.

Heitzman raised no campaign funds. According to the Federal Elections Commission’s website, the retired Jennings County schoolteacher received no money for her campaign. However, she received 49 percent of the vote.

“All I did was put my name forward, it’s not that I won for myself. I’ve got to give that credit to the men and women who got out there and really worked for me in the belief that we have to take seriously who it is we send to Washington,” Heitzman said.

“She just got out there and met people one-to-one and let them know what she was about,” said her husband, Stephen Heitzman.

“She ran in the last election (2012 primary). She lost, but she built on what she started the last time, and she won. It’s going to be interesting in the fall,” he added.

Heitzman will face incumbent U.S. Rep. Luke Messer, R-Ind., in the Nov. 4 general election.

Jennings County Clerk Mary Dorsett Kilgore said the new voting machines were helpful Tuesday and would be a real asset in the autumn elections. At 4 a.m. Tuesday, Kilgore boarded a rented truck and began her route to deliver new voting machines to all 25 precincts.

“They made everything much more efficient. I think it is the first time we finished counting the votes before dark. We will be ready for the fall,” she said.

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