Jorge Morales defeated challengers Paul Nolting and Paul Franke for the Republican party nomination for the Bartholomew County Council District 4 councilman seat.
Morales won with 819 total votes, beating out Nolting who received 775 votes and Franke with 758 votes.
The winner received about 35 percent of total votes.
Morales said watching the votes come in was nerve-racking, as all three candidates were within reach of the nomination at times.
“I led the whole time, but it was neck-and-neck,” he said. “I am totally humbled that the residents of Bartholomew County trusted me with another four-year term. I’m very happy.”
Morales will face Democrat Doug Memering in the November general election.
Nolting has never held office before. He said he wanted to focus on ending health insurance for part-time employees and address a lack of long-range planning.
Having three people in the race for the nomination was the difference, he said, adding he wouldn’t rule out seeking office in the future.
“This was my first attempt at it. I never thought I would do it,” he said. “You never say never.”
Franke, who had held the District 4 council seat from 1987 through 1996, ran on the hope to retain county workers by adjusting employee compensation. He also wanted to focus on road and bridge maintenance.
Morales announced his bid for re-election in December 2013. He said he would like to find funding to replace the county garage and continue the county’s strategy for balancing the county budget.
He’s hopeful that there will be more partnership between the county and the city going forward.
“One example could be explored in the consolidation of the city and county garage,” he said. “There can be more collaboration between the two local governments.”
Morales said he wants to find more ways to decrease property taxes.
“I am very concerned about the people in Bartholomew County and their income and having to pay higher and higher property taxes,” he said. “We need to bring the government to their level and do the right thing.”
After the primary results came, Morales said he was going to celebrate with State Rep. Milo Smith at the pub at the Clarion Hotel.
County Council District 4
Jorge Morales 819
Paul Nolting 775
Paul Franke 758