GARY | Jerome Prince couldn't have won the Democratic primary for Lake County assessor if the city's voters hadn't recognized him as a favorite son.
But going into the fall general election against Republican incumbent Jolie A. Covaciu, Prince wants Lake County to know: "I have everything to thank Gary for, but I'm not just a Gary guy.
"Just as I appreciate the support of Gary, I absolutely appreciate the support of Hammond and East Chicago, Merrillville and all the support I had outside of Gary. Had I not done as well as I did those other areas, we wouldn't be having this conversation," Prince said.
Prince, a county councilman and one of several Gary-based candidates relying on the city's proven voter turnout, defeated Schererville Town Councilman Michael A. Troxell and Jesus L Ortiz Jr., of East Chicago, in Tuesday's primary.
Unofficial county election results show Troxell outpolled Prince outside the city by 3,633 votes, but Prince carried the city by a 7,950-vote margin, capturing 104 of 105 city precincts.
Troxell won in Schererville, Dyer, St. John, Crown Point and Highland, but voter turnout in his base of support was much lower than Gary, where contested races for sheriff, commissioner, Calumet Township trustee and advisory board energized voters here.
Prince also won or tied in 101 precincts outside the city, including a majority of East Chicago and Merrillville, 39 in Hammond and others in Cedar Lake, Crown Point, Griffith, Hobart, Lake Station, Munster, St. John and unincorporated township areas.
He said this campaign is proof he has grown as a candidate since 2002 when he ran for assessor, captured 86 percent of Gary's vote and still lost that year to Paul Karras by 12,000 votes.
Lake County Clerk Mike Brown and County Commissioner Roosevelt Allen are two other candidates with Gary residency who won their races with support outside the city as well.
Allen's commissioner district once centered on Gary and East Chicago was redrawn to include more of of Merrillville, New Chicago, Hobart, Lake Station and part of Crown Point. Tuesday, he captured more than 80 percent of the combined vote in Gary and those suburban communities.
"I spend a lot of time outside the city in other communities especially in the last year participating on a lot of regional councils," Allen said. "I'm very satisfied with the outcome of the election. It's an indication to me the citizens of those areas are satisfied with my performance."
Brown won more than 70 percent of the unofficial countywide vote total, including more than eight out of 10 Gary votes. Gary City Councilwoman Kimberly "Kim" Robinson won the city by a 716-vote margin to defeat incumbent Calumet Township Trustee Mary Elgin.
Richard Ligon, of Gary, received two out of three of all city votes in his bid for county sheriff, but couldn't overcome Sheriff John Buncich's 8,151 margin outside the city.