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Legislative races

From left, Eddie Melton, Tammi Davis, Earl Harris Jr. and Darren Washington.

Senate District 3

In the tense race to replace retiring Sen. Earline Rogers, D-Gary, her preferred successor, Eddie Melton, appeared to be leading the race. 

Rogers walked around Melton's campaign headquarters Tuesday in Gary and appeared optimistic. She said she felt comfortable knowing Melton, of Merrillville, would replace her in the state Senate.

"I watched as he interacted with other people," she said. "He's able to talk to people on both sides of the aisle."

Melton campaigned on issues surrounding education and jobs in Northwest Indiana. 

"I'm just very appreciative of the voters for their trust," Melton said.

"I'm looking forward to continuing to learn from them their concerns and issues, and working with leaders of the communities to figure out what we can do to move District 3 forward."

Near downtown Gary, Darren Washington sat inside his campaign headquarters watching the results come in on his iPad. He characterized the campaign as ugly, and he said he would be praying for those who damaged his signs. 

Washington plans to continue serving as president of the Calumet Township Board. 

Dave Spott, of Hobart, and Ethel Williams, of Gary, also challenged Melton for the seat.

District 3 includes Gary, Lake Station, New Chicago, Hobart, Merrillville and Crown Point. 

Senate District 8 (Democratic) 

Maxine Spenner, a retired LaPorte teacher, said she was told she was the projected winner to replace retiring Sen. Jim Arnold, D-LaPorte, who served 10 years in the Senate.

Dan Cruz, of South Bend, challenged Spenner for the nomination.

Senate District 8 (Republican)

Allen Stevens, of Hanna, said just before 9:30 p.m. that he was expected to be defeated by Mike Bohack, a LaPorte County commissioner, in the Republican nomination for District 8.

"We worked hard," Stevens said. "Unfortunately, it looks like it was a little too much to overcome in LaPorte County. I'm waiting for it to sink in a little bit."

House District 2

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Earl Harris Jr. appears to have succeeded in his quest to follow his mother and late father as the representative for East Chicago and portions of Gary in the Indiana House.

“I'm excited. I really appreciate the confidence of the voters,” Harris said. “I'm looking forward to serving everyone in Northwest Indiana well.”

Harris prevailed in the four-way contest with far less than a majority, but more votes than Rosa Maria Rodriguez, Tammi Davis and Drake Morris.

Barring an unlikely general election loss to a currently nonexistent Republican opponent, Harris' victory will continue his family's public service tradition at the Statehouse begun by Earl Harris Sr. in 1982 and continued by state Rep. Donna Harris, D-East Chicago, following her husband's death last March.

Earl Harris Jr. said he is focused on extending their work by improving employment, tourism and economic development opportunities for the entire Region.

House District 3

State Rep. Charlie Brown, D-Gary, is likely to return to the Statehouse for an 18th term after prevailing in the Democratic primary against Antuwan Clemons, board president of Gary Community School Corp.

Clemons tried to persuade voters that the district, which includes Gary, Lake Station, New Chicago and Hobart, needed someone new looking out for their interests.

But they opted for Brown's track record of getting things done, including passage of a statewide smoking ban, approval for land-based casinos and creation of the Healthy Indiana Plan.

Brown said he's grateful his constituents once again deemed him worthy to give him their votes.

So far no Republican is running against Brown in the November general election.

House District 4

Former Porter County Clerk Pamela Mishler Fish appears to have narrowly defeated Jesse Harper for the right to challenge state Rep. Ed Soliday, R-Valparaiso, in November.

The Valparaiso-area contest was one of the closest House races in the state Tuesday. At one point early in the evening just two votes separated the two Democratic candidates.

With her victory, Fish now will try to sell her “Back to Business” plan to a general election audience.

It is focused on enacting measures to attract high-wage employers to Northwest Indiana, increase funding for public education, improve roads, bridges and technological infrastructure and bolster public health programs to combat drug abuse.

Soliday, the chairman of the House Roads and Transportation Committee, was unopposed in the Republican primary as he runs for a sixth term.

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