Grant Porter (right) congratulates Chad Kukelhan, who pulled a major upset in Tuesday's voting to become Adams Circuit Court judge. (Photo by J Swygart)
It was a Republican landslide in Adams County as local GOP candidates swept their way to victory in every countywide race during Tuesday's general election balloting.
Among the high-profile wins was a 628-vote victory by first-time candidate Chad Kuklehan over incumbent Democrat Frederick Schurger for the seat as judge of the Adams Circuit Court.
Kuklehan, a practicing attorney in the county for the last 10 years, out-polled Schurger by a 6,744-6,116 margin. Both candidates had maintained a high profile throughout the campaign with extensive advertising and yard signs.
"I am so grateful. I feel so fortunate to be the next judge of the circuit court," Kukelhan said in the afterglow of his victory. "I was hoping it would be a close race, and I'm really glad that I won."
The Republican said he knocked on doors throughout the county to attempt to reach as many potential voters as possible. He thanked his supporters, his parents, "who taught me how to act and molded me into a man," and his wife Laura, "the best support system I could have ever asked for."
Kuklehan also had high praise for his opponent.
"I have all the respect in the world for Fred. He ran a very close campaign. He worked diligently, just like he does on the bench. We should both be proud of how we ran our campaigns."
Schurger was first appointed as judge of the local circuit court by former Gov. Frank O'Bannon in 1999. He was elected in 2000 and 2006.
He was philosophical in defeat.
"That's the way it goes. What else can you say? Adams County has become a very Republican county. That's just the way it goes."