INDIANAPOLIS — State Rep. Hal Slager, R-Schererville, will not contest his 82-vote loss to Democrat Chris Chyung.
Slager issued a concession statement Tuesday just after the noon deadline to challenge the result of the Nov. 6 general election.
"We did an analysis of the vote count, the process and various allegations of possible irregularities. Nothing could be established that the vote was not reasonably accurate. In a recount we may have narrowed the gap with the paper ballots, but there are not enough of those to expect to recover more than 82.
"Therefore, I am discontinuing any further effort to a recount and concede the election. My opponent worked hard and I have to respect that, and wish him well in his journey to represent the district," Slager said.
Although state and county Republican officials could have pursued a recount on Slager's behalf, they said they had no plans to do so.
Slager, who served as a Schererville town councilman for a decade, had served the district for three two-year terms.
Chyung, a political newcomer, stunned Slager in the Nov. 6 general election, taking what had been considered a securely Republican 15th House District since its new boundaries were redrawn earlier this decade to encompass Dyer, Schererville most of St. John and parts of Griffith.
Chyung, a financial analyst and owner of a Hammond real estate firm, won backing from both the Democratic Party's progressive and traditional wings, campaigned hard and rode a blue wave of Democratic votes to victory.
The final unofficial vote count on the night of Nov. 6 showed Chyung outpolled Slager by 86 votes, or 12,473 to 12,387.
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The Indiana Recount Commission ordered state police late Nov. 9 to impound all 15th District voting materials on the possibility of a recount.
The Lake County Board of Elections and Voter Registration certified the results of the 2018 election Friday after rescanning 24 ballots from Dyer Precinct 8 and reviewing about 30 provisional ballots cast in House District 15, with the Indiana State Police present.
The final official results showed Chyung won the race 12,468 to 12,386, or by 82 votes.
"This has been quite a surprise election. As most of you know by now, at last count I came up 82 votes short of about 25,000 cast. Don’t ever say that your vote doesn’t count," Slager stated.
"I loved doing this job and will miss it. I have many accomplishments to look back on and be thankful for. Lots of supporters and fellow legislators helped us along the way to achieve great successes for Lake County.
"I had a full agenda for this year that I cannot fulfill. However, there are still the issues of pediatric care and mental health that I can help with that do not require the title to champion their advancement. I will continue to work on these things that I am passionate about.
"I fully expect that I will be called upon for some new challenge and I look forward to the next adventure. I just read a quote in a book by Randy Lewis, 'No Greatness Without Goodness' that seems appropriate; 'When the map and terrain differ, go with the terrain.'”
"I want to thank all who have supported me over the years in Schererville and District 15. Your generous contributions of time and treasure have been a blessing to my family," Slager concluded.