Following the death of U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski, R-Ind., Gov. Eric Holcomb signed an executive order on Tuesday to establish a special election for Indiana’s 2nd Congressional District.
The election will be on Nov. 8—the same day as midterms—and Walorski’s successor will serve as a member of Congress until Jan. 3, the end of Walorski’s term.
The counties of Elkhart, Fulton, Marshall, Miami, Pulaski, St. Joseph, Starke and Wabash will vote in both elections, according to Holcomb’s office.
A release by the Indiana GOP explained the quick timeline: “Generally, the Indiana Republican Party would have 30 days to fill a ballot vacancy. However, in this instance, Indiana Code requires that a certificate of nomination be submitted to the Indiana Election Division no later than noon on Friday, Aug. 26, 2022.”
That’s why Indiana Republican Party Chairman Kyle Hupfer called two Aug. 20 caucuses of precinct committee members to fill the two ballot vacancies, saying, “We are still in shock by the tragic passing of Rep. Jackie Walorski and not eager to talk about the next steps. Unfortunately, Indiana Code requires us to move much faster than any of us would like.”
Walorski’s husband, Dean Swihart, responded in a statement Wednesday emailed from Team Walorski.
“As we prepare for the funeral services this week, our family remains focused solely on celebrating Jackie’s memory and mourning her loss as she returns home to be with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,” he said. “There are certain realities that we must face as part of this process, and I have been asked by many of you if I will be weighing in on Jackie’s replacement for the 2nd District Congressional seat ….
“There was nothing more important to Jackie than public service, and as part of her legacy I know she would want to weigh in on her successor. At this time, I am not ready to engage on this topic, but I do plan to offer my thoughts at a later date.”
He expressed thanks for the “outpouring” of sympathy his family has received, saying, “We have been touched by the support and kindness coming in from across the district, our nation and the world to honor the incredible legacy of Jackie. It is a testament to the impact Jackie had on so many lives.”
“Representative Jackie Walorski served the state of Indiana valiantly, fighting each day for the people of Indiana’s 2nd Congressional District,” Rep. Larry Bucshon, R-Ind., said. “Today, I am proud to lead the Indiana House Delegation in introducing a resolution to honor her life and legacy of service to the state of Indiana.”
The resolution detailed Walorski’s career as a public servant, as well as what she did prior to working in government—including her start as a reporter for WSBT-TV and spending four years with her husband in Romania as Christian missionaries.
Walorski befriended colleagues across the aisle and “was known for her integrity, work ethic, passion for public service, and laughter and never wavered in her commitment to God, family, country, and Indiana,” the resolution said.
“Proud to join with my Indiana colleagues to honor Rep. Jackie Walorski,” said Rep. Frank Mrvan, D-Ind. “I am grateful for our all too brief shared time together in the U.S. House of Representatives and appreciate her consistent friendship, example of public service, and openness to conversation.”
Also announced was funeral information for Walorski and the two staffers who were also in the vehicle.
Walorski’s visitation took place Wednesday at Granger Community Church and her memorial service will be Thursday at the church, beginning at 11 a.m.
The visitation for Emma Thomson, Walorski’s communications director, was in Pennsylvania at Westmont Presbyterian Church Tuesday, and her memorial service was Wednesday.
Zachery Potts’ visitation will be from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Calvary Tabernacle in Three Oaks, Michigan on Aug. 13. The memorial service for Potts, who was Walorski’s district director, will immediately follow the visitation.
Walorski and her staffers were killed in a two-car traffic accident in Elkhart County. Walorski was in her fifth term as a congresswoman representing South Bend and surrounding north central Indiana and was seeking a sixth term in the Nov. 8 election. She previously served three terms in the Indiana House of Representatives.