Republicans may win St. Joseph County Council majority, flipping body from Democrats
Republicans may take 5 to 4 control of the St. Joseph County Council from Democrats depending on how a recount shakes out in one very close race.
Five seats on the nine member body were up this November. In District B, Republican Amy Drake — a conservative activist who grew to prominence criticizing the county health department’s COVID-19 response — currently leads Democratic incumbent Corey Noland by 35 votes with 100 percent of precincts reporting.
Republicans also flipped the District A seat held by Democratic incumbent Bobby Kruszynski — in preliminary totals, challenger Joe Thomas leads by around 7 percentage points.
The GOP also held on to District C, with Republican Dan Schaetzle defeating John Pillar to succeed retiring Republican member Richard Pfile.
Democrat Diana Hess held on to her District E seat, defeating Republican Jason Kring, and the party has also held the District H seat. There, Bryan Tanner defeated Republican Mark Voelker by around 1 percentage point to succeed Democrat Joe Canarecci, who decided not to run for re-election.
With the reelection of incumbent Republican Carl Baxmeyer, all three County Commissioners have remained Republican. If Drake’s lead holds, that would put both bodies under GOP control with the Council having a 5 to 4 Republican majority.
The Council flip comes following an acrimonious battle over redistricting last year after the Republican commissioners passed controversial maps that gave them a 2 to 1 edge while also making several council seats more competitive, as they must be contained within commissioner districts.
That led to a lawsuit from county Democrats, hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees and an eventual mediated agreement to pass compromise maps.
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