Rod Roberson
Rod Roberson

Elkhart Elects First African American Mayor

Democrat Rod Roberson will become Elkhart’s next mayor on Jan. 1 after defeating former Republican Mayor Dave Miller in a milestone election.

Roberson won with 56 percent of the vote.

This story by Rasmus S. Jorgensen originally appeared in The Elkhart Truth.

He will be the first African American mayor in Elkhart.

Roberson’s campaign slogan, “Building Elkhart Together,” was a message that resonated with voters, according to the mayor-elect.

Roberson praised Miller during his victory speech, saying the Republican had run well and pushed him to run a better campaign.

As in the Democratic primary, Roberson overcame being beaten on fundraising.

The Democrat thanked his supporters for their prayers and said that it all started with God.

On the Elkhart City Council, power switched from the Republicans to the Democrats as well, moving from 7-2 in Republican favor to 4-5 in Democratic favor.

Democrat Gerry Roberts defeated District 1 Republican incumbent Richard Shively 54 percent to 46 percent.

Republican District 2 incumbent Brian Thomas defeated his Democratic challenger Andrew Strycker by 53 percent to 47 percent.

Incumbent Democrats in Districts 3 and 4, Brent Curry and Dwight Fish, were unopposed.

Former Democratic Councilwoman Tonda Hines defeated Republican incumbent Pam Kurpgeweit by 58 percent to 42 percent. Kurpgeweit beat Hines by six votes in 2015.

Got a news tip? Contact David MacNeal