FORT WAYNE, Ind. (21Alive) - A Fort Wayne lawyer wins the right to succeed a state lawmaker who died in office.
The result came about in a party caucus held Tuesday evening to pick Phyllis Pond's replacement.
At the Allen County Republican Party Headquarters at Main and Harrison Streets, a total of seven men got the chance to make their case to 59 Republican precinct committee persons, as to why they were best suited to follow in Phyllis Pond's footsteps.
The long-time New Haven kindergarten teacher served 35 years in the Indiana House, the longest stint by any woman in that chamber of the legislature.
She died last month at the age of 82, prompting the need for a caucus of precinct officials to pick someone to fill out the final 15 months of her term.
Ballots were dropped in a box in round one of the voting.
To get a winner declared on the first ballot, somebody needed to claim a majority or at least 30 votes.
" Casey Cox received 37 of 59 votes cast. Congratulations," pronounced Indiana Republican Party Chairman Tim Berry, who was in charge of the caucus.
Cox, a Fort Wayne attorney, is a former city redevelopment commission member who made decisions on the high profile Harrison Square project.
He says he was humbled by the first ballot victory.
" I wanted to drive home the fact that we're in need of good, younger, conservative Republican candidates to carry the banner on in the Republican Party."
" In the last three weeks I learned a lot about politics. I'm not sure I fit in, but it was fun, talking to precinct committeemen," said Dave Heine, one of the losing candidates in the caucus.
He’s a former executive with “Do it Best” Corporation.
Casey Cox was a winner in this event, but if he wants to keep the job beyond the next 15 months, he's going to have to be ready to hit the campaign trail in short order.
Cox will hold the 85th House seat in the 2014 session of the General Assembly, but to keep the seat he'll be forced to run in the May primary.
" I am sure that given the popularity of this seat that there will be many people who tried tonight in the caucus who will also be vying for the position in the May primary," said Allen GOP Chairman Steve Shine.
Cox says he believes he will vote in favor of allowing Hoosier voters to say “yay or nay” to a traditional marriage amendment, though he concedes changing the state Constitution is something not to be taken lightly.
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