CROWN POINT | Democrat incumbent Shelli VanDenburgh is the apparent winner in the race for the newly redistricted 19th District seat in the Indiana House of Representatives.
VanDenburgh led Republican challenger Ron Johnson with 56 percent of the vote compared with nearly 44 percent for Johnson, with nearly half of Lake County votes counted in early, unofficial results.
The race had been neck-and-neck in Porter County, where Johnson emerged with just over 50 percent of the vote with all precincts counted.
Johnson conceded defeat at about 9:45 p.m. "I wish her the best," Johnson said.
VanDenburgh said she was amazed at the outcome in light of redrawn district lines.
"I just feel so honored that the voters put their faith in me," she said.
VanDenburgh had been chosen in 2007 to replace Democrat Bob Kuzman, who resigned after 11 years representing the 19th District. She won re-election in 2008 and 2010.
Johnson is head pastor of Livingstones Church in Crown Point. Johnson said Tuesday the past year "had been a great year in his life. I appreciate the opportunity to meet all the people in the district."
The legislature in 2011 rearranged the 19th District, removing some south Lake County precincts but retaining Crown Point and gaining the town of Winfield and a number of Hobart and Merrillville districts.