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VALPARAISO — Both candidates in the Porter County coroner's race are first-time political contenders and received a baptism by fire Tuesday as they awaited vote totals following an unprecedented Election Day full of twists and turns.

"It is definitely a little frustrating, but I'm taking it with a grain of salt," said Democrat Randy Wilkening, 53, of Portage, a firefighter and paramedic with the Portage Fire Department, Tuesday night as he was picking up signs at polling places around the county. "The most frustrating thing is that most of it happened in Portage."

Cyndi Dykes, 57, of Valparaiso, a certified histology technician at Porter Regional Hospital, was equally as frustrated.

"This whole thing has been a mess. I hope it all works out in the end," Dykes said about the delay in counting votes. 

Both Wilkening and Dykes, however, said their first experience running for election was good.

"I had a lot of good response. I met a lot of nice people and didn't encounter any negativity," Wilkening said.

"I'm glad everyone went out and voted. That's the important thing. This has been an amazing journey for me and a great experience," Dykes said.

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Porter County Reporter

Joyce has been a reporter for nearly 40 years, including 23 years with The Times. She's a native of Merrillville, but has lived in Portage for 39 years. She covers municipal and school government in Porter County.