HAMMOND | The Democratic primary race for 3rd District Lake County commissioner was too close to call Tuesday night, with Lake County Councilman Michael C. Repay leading North Township board member Richard J. Novak by only double digits.
Novak, 60, of East Chicago, said shortly before 10 p.m. Tuesday, "I think I'm going to wait until tomorrow until I find out exactly what's going on. We are neck and neck, but I still feel good about it."
Repay, 37, of Hammond, said the narrow margin reflected an equally hard fight for votes in recent days.
"Down the stretch, we were arriving at some of the same events at the same time. We hit the train stations, the churches and other things other campaigns didn't do," Repay said.
Mark Leyva, of Highland, defeated Dyer Town Councilwoman Debbie Astor in the Republican primary.
The Democratic winner and Leyva will meet in the November general election, when voters will decide who will represent Whiting, Hammond, part of East Chicago, Munster, Highland, Dyer and part of St. John as one of the three top county government executives.
Repay used his family roots in Hammond politics to good effect. His brother, Dan Repay, and his father, Edward Repay, served for years on the Hammond City Council. Voters elected Michael Repay to represent Hammond on the Lake County Council two years ago.
He entered the race for commissioner shortly after outgoing Commissioner Fran DuPey announced she wouldn't run for another term in office. DuPey's exit also prompted Novak and Peter Katic to test their luck with voters.
Novak is a former Highland town councilman who later moved to East Chicago, where he served as marina director from 2005 to 2010.
Katic, a Munster attorney, has served as a state representative for Hammond, a Hammond city judge, 3rd District commissioner from 1992 to 1996 and a North Township board member.