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Caucuses fill vacant county positions

Both political parties held caucuses last week to fill vacancies created after Harrison County Councilman William T. (Bill) Nichols, a Democrat, and Surveyor Tom Bube, a Republican, passed away a few weeks ago.
New Salisbury resident Robert H. (Bob) Morris was elected Tuesday, July 20, to the District 2 county council seat to fulfill Nichols’ term. Nichols died July 2, a day after he suffered burns over about 80 percent of his body during an accident on his farm south of Lanesville.
Morris said he can’t explain how much he admires Nichols and his wife, Jane.
‘Jane has been very gracious to me,’ he said. ‘She was gracious enough to hold the Bible for the swearing-in. That was very nice, and I appreciate that.’
Besides winning the caucus to complete Nichols’ term, which ends Dec. 31, Morris also won the caucus to have his name on the General Election ballot in November, replacing Nichols as the candidate for the seat, which represents Franklin and Jackson townships. Both caucuses had a 4-3 vote, with Donald J. Hussung of Lanesville receiving the three votes. Noble Davis Jr. of Ramsey also vied for the council seat.
The caucus, comprised of the District 2 Democrat precinct committee chairs, took place at the Harrison County Justice Center in Corydon.
Morris, a meat cutter at Kroger, began his new role Monday night at the council’s regular meeting.
‘I want to say that I wanted this position but not under these circumstances, with someone being hurt or dying,’ Morris said. ‘(The other councilmembers) have time to prepare for the budget hearings, but I’ve got to jump right into it. But I’m willing to do that. It’s something that has to be done.’
He will face Republican Gary Davis in November for the right to retain the seat. Morris, a former trustee of the North Harrison Community School Corp. Board of Trustees, lost in the Democrat primary to Nichols by about 100 votes.
On Friday, the Harrison County Republican Party held a caucus to elect Bube’s successor. Bube died June 26, a day after he was found unconscious in his office.
Elizabeth resident Harold Klinstiver, a retired project supervisor for the Indiana Department of Transportation, won the election by securing 18 of the 27 county precinct committee chair votes.
Klinstiver was unable to attend the caucus because of injuries sustained in a vehicle crash Friday afternoon on S.R. 111 near Horseshoe Southern Indiana in Bridgeport.
Harrison County Republican Party Chairman Scott Fluhr said Klinstiver, who suffered a leg injury, is expected to be released from the hospital today (Wednesday) or tomorrow. Fluhr said Klinstiver’s wife, Carol, suffered more serious leg injuries in the crash. (See related story, front page.)
Other candidates on the ballot were J.R. Eckart, who was named interim surveyor July 6 by the county board of commissioners after Bube’s death; Bube’s son, Joe; Max Brown; Bill Watts; and Steven Day.
Fluhr said Day had withdrawn as a candidate the day before the caucus, but since the filing deadline had passed, his name was still on the ballot.
Klinstiver will complete Bube’s term, which will end Dec. 31, 2012.
Klinstiver made two previous bids at a public office, finishing fourth among five candidates seeking three open spots on the Harrison County Council in 2004. He also lost to fellow Republican Jim Heitkemper in the District 3 commissioner primary race in 2006.