FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA21) – After endorsing a Black woman for the fourth district seat, Allen County GOP chairman Steve Shine was vocal about wanting a more diverse County Council.
“We’ve heard the community and we have responded,” said Shine just minutes before voting began on Monday. “If nothing less than my endorsement and recommendation of Apryl Underwood, that has certainly sparked the conversation.”
The 18 GOP voters responded by picking a white candidate over two Black challengers.
Chris Spurr was selected to fill the fourth district seat left vacant by Larry Brown.
Last month, Brown made comments about Black Lives Matters Protesters in Fort wayne, saying “Unfortunately, some of them breed.”
Days later, he apologized and resigned.
At the Republican Party caucus Monday evening Spurr beat his opponents, Emery McClendon and Apryl Elizabeth Underwood, with a final of 11 to 7.
The first vote ended in a three-way tie. In the second vote Underwood and Spurr came out on top. Underwood received seven votes, Spurr six and McClendon five.
Spurr won by four votes in the final vote. Spurr received 11 votes and Underwood received seven.
Underwood, who has been endorsed by Shine, was criticized by some in the party for her previous support of Barack Obama. She also donated a small amount of money to the Bernie Sanders Campaign.
Shine insisted Underwood would be a champion for Republican causes.
The remaining candidate, Emery McClendon, has an established track record supporting Republican causes and is an enthusiastic supporter of President Donald Trump. He’s served as a delegate to the Republican National Convention three times.
Before the voting began, McClendon spoke to our Jeff Neumeyer.
“I’ve talked to almost every precinct chairman and they seem to be very excited about the process, they are especially excited about the make-up of who’s running, and they’re looking forward to being there tonight. A lot of them were very positive toward my message and we’ll see tonight what the outcome will be.”
Sheila Curry-Campbell is the only African American on Allen County Council. She sat next to Larry Brown when he made the controversial remarks. Afterward, she also expressed her desire to see more diversity on the fiscal body.