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Caucus sends Donato to Statehouse

BY JARED KEEVER - jkeever@perutribune.com

Area caucus members with the Indiana Republican party chose Cass County Councilwoman Stacey Donato to serve as their new state senator.

Donato will finish out the term of State Sen. Randy Head who resigned his seat representing District 18 in August.

The caucus, made up of eligible precinct committee members from District 18 which includes parts or all Cass, Fulton, Miami, Carroll, Kosciusko and Marshall counties, voted through five rounds Monday night at the Miami County fairgrounds before Donato achieved the needed 42 votes.

The caucus brought to a close a weeks-long campaign that saw six candidates vie for the position.

They included Flora council member and Ivy Tech workforce consultant, Jake Adams; part time real estate appraiser and agent, Jeffrey P. Staker, of Denver; former executive director of the Fulton County Chamber of Commerce and founder and president of Fulton County H.O.P.E. Inc., Amy Roe; Rochester city councilman Brian Fitzwater; and former Miami County sheriff, Tim Miller.

To win, the candidate needed a simple majority of the 82 eligible committee members. The lowest vote-getter in each round was eliminated until a candidate reached that number.

Staker was the first candidate eliminated, drawing only one vote in the first round where Donato, who came to the caucus with Head’s endorsement, was the early front-runner, pulling in 32 votes.

Adams pulled close in the second round, picking up eight votes to reach 28 to Donato’s 34. Fitzwater was eliminated in that round.

The third round saw Roe eliminated after she gained only one vote. Donato and Adams had 39 and 29 votes respectively at the end of that round.

After the fourth round, Donato had lost a vote for 38 and Adams held 34. Miller was eliminated with eight votes.

Donato pulled in the needed 42 votes in the final round.

In a brief speech after the final tally, she told caucus members she was humbled and promised to work to represent them.

“I am your senator,” she said.