By Adrianna Pitrelli
The campaign season for the November election is more than halfway over, but for Democrat Ron Drake, it has just begun.
The Indiana Recount Commission finalized the results in the Democratic primary for the 8th Congressional District and officially announced Drake as the winner Friday.
“The recount was a difficult and excruciating experience,” Drake said as he described his frustration with the more than three-month delay.
“Half of the campaign time is gone,” he said.
Following May’s primary, his opponent, David Orentlicher, requested a recount after Drake won by 68 votes. Almost 60,000 voters cast a ballot in the primary race.
Orentlicher conceded the race in an email to the State Board of Accounts last week after he said the final numbers would show he would lose.
“In the end, he gave a gracious concession statement,” Drake said. “He endorsed me. I thank him and I respect him for that.”
Drake said he hopes Orentlicher’s supporters will follow his endorsement and help him in his expedited campaign.
“I won the election,” Drake said. “I couldn’t campaign because I couldn’t go out and tell people, ‘Hey, I’m your nominee,’ because I wasn’t,” Drake said.
Despite his frustration with the delay, Drake said he was impressed with the integrity and quality of the recount.
A State Board of Accounts employee said they worked long hours and drove hundreds of miles traveling throughout the 19 counties in the 8th Congressional District to recount the votes.
“[The State Board of Accounts employees] were considerate,” Drake said. “They were all trying to make sure they did it right and more particularly, they wanted you to understand why and how they were doing it right.”
Drake will face incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Larry Bucshon this November.