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Election Coverage

Allen County Council

Paramedic tops 4 others for District 3 nod


Joel Benz will be the GOP pick for Allen County Council District 3 in the November election after beating four Republican opponents Tuesday.

Benz, 33, a city paramedic, said he and his team worked hard to win the election.

“This is not about Joel Benz,” he said at Allen County Republican Headquarters.

“The best days of Allen County are ahead of us, and I am excited to be a representative,” he said.

The 3rd District seat is held by Darren Vogt, who vacated to seek the open state Senate District 15. He lost to Liz Brown on Tuesday.

Benz received 2,395 votes, almost 34 percent, according to unofficial results.

Gwen Sordelet was second with 1,964 votes, followed by Tom Rotering with 1,652, Travis Armstrong with 661 votes and Gary Washington with 401.

Benz is a small-business owner who wants to encourage entrepreneurs in the private sector, believes county government could be more efficient and would motivate employees through merit pay.

Benz works for Three Rivers Ambulance Authority and just received a master's degree in business administration from the University of Saint Francis.

He said the council has some challenges ahead but even more opportunities.

“There were a lot of qualified candidates, and I am honored to serve,” Benz said.

A referendum on the November ballot will ask voters to decide whether to do away with the current three-commissioner board and move to a single county executive and expand the County Council from seven members to nine. Instead of four members representing districts and three at-large members, all nine would represent a district.

Benz has some reservations about switching to one county executive, he said, but will work with whatever the voters decide.

No Democrat filed to run for the District 3 seat. The party has until June 30 to find a candidate.

In District 1, Republican council member Kevin Howell easily won over Joe “Fluoride Man” Renner. Howell had 2,364 votes, nearly 77 percent, to Renner's 708, according to unofficial results. He will face Democrat Sharon Tucker in the fall.

Incumbent Republican Tom Harris was unopposed in District 2, as was Republican Larry Brown in District 4.

Brown will face Democrat Austin Carpenter in November. Democrats have until June 30 to fill the District 2 vacancy.