Indiana GOP pick replacement nominee to succeed late Rep. Jackie Walorski following fatal car crash

Republican Party members in Indiana’s 2nd Congressional District gathered together Saturday to determine who would replace the late Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-IN), who died tragically in a car accident earlier in August.

Following just one round of voting, caucus attendees overwhelmingly picked Rudy Yakym to be Walorski’s replacement after he had been endorsed last week by the late congresswoman’s husband, Dean Swihart, Hot Air reported.

Yakym may have won that endorsement and been selected to replace Walorski in part because of prior ties between him and the congresswoman, as Yakym was a political ally who had served as her campaign finance director when she first ran for office in 2011-2012.

Picked for both general and special elections

CBS News reported that the event to pick a replacement, unfortunately, proved necessary after Rep. Walorski and two of her staffers were killed on Aug. 3 in a head-on collision with another vehicle that also claimed the life of the other driver.

Yakym, a local business executive, prevailed over a field of around a dozen candidates that included several state legislators and a former state attorney general who were all vying for the opportunity to be named as Walorski’s successor by a group of around 500 GOP party activists in the 2nd district.

Since Indiana had already conducted its primary elections, the first of two separate caucus votes held on Saturday resulted in Yakym being selected to replace the incumbent Walorski as the Republican nominee in the general election on November 8, where he is favored in a face-off against the Democratic nominee Paul Steury and Libertarian nominee William Henry for the coming two-year term in Congress.

State law also requires that a special election be held to choose who will serve out the remainder of Walorski’s current term that ends in January, which is scheduled for the same day as the general election, and Yakym was picked by acclamation, or voice vote, to be the nominee in that election as well.

Endorsed by Walorski’s husband

The South Bend Tribune reported that after Yakym had been chosen as Walorski’s replacement, Indiana GOP Chair Kyle Hupfer said in a statement, “Rudy will be a strong voice for northern Indiana and continue Jackie Walorski’s legacy of fighting for conservative values in Washington D.C.”

The outlet further noted that Walorski’s husband, Swihart, not only endorsed Yakym but also introduced him ahead of the vote as a “pro-Trump, pro-life and Christian family man” who had garnered his approval after thoughtful consideration.

“I don’t take this endorsement lightly at all. Rudy and I had a brutally honest conversation about what it would mean to continue the work that Jackie did in D.C.,” Swihart said. “That’s not backing down from a fight, that’s never losing sight of your principles and beliefs, and always putting the people in the 2nd district first.”

CBS News noted that Swihart also described Yakym as “a political outsider who has what it takes to stand up to the Pelosi-Biden agenda.”

“Jackie taught us that character and integrity matter, and that’s why she served on the House Ethics Committee,” Yakym said in accepting the nomination, according to the Tribune, and added to Swihart, “Dean, you have my word that I will work every day to honor Jackie’s legacy and make you proud.”

Latest News