Beck easily takes vacant 3rd District
Fort Wayne Republican banker Rich Beck cruised to victory Tuesday in the race to fill the Allen County commissioners’ 3rd District seat vacated by longtime Republican Commissioner Linda Bloom.
Beck and his opponent, Democrat Grant Wal-mer, both from Fort Wayne, ran muted campaigns consisting of little more than roadside signs. With all but 35 of the county’s 292 precincts reporting by 10:50 p.m., Beck, 66, garnered nearly 60 percent of the vote to defeat Walmer, 27, a massage therapist.
A senior vice president of Fort Wayne-based STAR Bank and the 10-year president of the Allen County Redevelopment Commission, Beck successfully faced off against fellow Republican Chris Spurr in the May primary.
Walmer, a relative political newcomer who was a state and national party convention delegate, had no primary opponent.
At Republican headquarters Tuesday night, Beck credited his platform focusing on economic development coupled with strong financial oversight for his win.
“As I learned over the last six months of talking to judges, department heads and other elected officials, I think we’re on target with that,” he said.
Beck said he’d also like to pay special attention to issues involving public safety and soil and water conservation as he starts his four-year term.
He has experience in complex real estate transactions and county development matters as well as 40 years’ service as a reserve Allen County sheriff’s deputy, most recently as deputy chief of operations.
During Beck’s time leading the redevelopment commission board, the Walmart milk processing plant, the Stonebridge industrial park and the Bluffton Road industrial corridor were developed.
Walmer said he did better than he expected. “I knew I was running an uphill battle,” he said. Although the county historically votes Republican, “I would consider running again.”
Bloom joined the staff of the Allen County assessor’s office in 1978 and was elected Allen County treasurer in 1980. She was elected Allen County auditor in 1986. She was the first woman to win a seat on the three-person Board of Commissioners when she was elected in 1994. She went on to serve six consecutive terms before announcing in 2017 she would not run again.
The job paid $73,152 in 2017. Candidates for the seat representing the 3rd District in southwest Allen County must live in the district. However all county residents, regardless of where they live may vote for 3rd District candidates.
Beck will join Republicans Nelson Peters and Therese Brown as county commissioners.