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Gov. Holcomb signs executive order calling for special election to fill Rep. Walorski's seat

The special election will be held concurrently with the general election on Nov. 8, 2022.

ELKHART COUNTY, Ind. — Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb signed an executive order Tuesday calling for a special election to fill the vacancy of U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski, who died in a car crash Aug. 3.

The special election will be held concurrently with the general election on Nov. 8, 2022.

Also on Tuesday, the Indiana House Congressional Delegation introduced a bipartisan resolution honoring the life and legacy of Walorski.

Walorski, 58, two of her staff members and the driver of the other vehicle, identified as 56-year-old Edith Schmucker, of Nappanee, died in the crash.

The staff members were identified as 28-year-old Emma Thomson, the representative's communications director, and 27-year-old Zachery Potts, her district director and the Republican chairman for northern Indiana’s St. Joseph County.

Police said Potts was the one driving at the time, but the sheriff's office does not know yet what caused Potts to cross the center line.

Credit: AP
FILE - In this July 19, 2018 file photo, Rep. Jackie Walorski, R-Ind., center, flanked by John Bozzella, president of Global Automakers, left, and Sen. Doug Jones, D-Ala., joins Americans who work for international auto companies to demonstrate against trade tariffs they say will negatively impact U.S. auto manufacturing, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, file)

According to Palmer Funeral Home, visitation for Walorski will be held at Granger Community Church on Wednesday, Aug. 10 from noon to 7 p.m.

Her funeral will also be held at the church on Thursday, Aug. 11 at 11 a.m.

The crash happened in Elkhart County around 12:30 p.m., when the SUV Walorski was in crossed the center line on State Road 19 and collided head-on with another car, the Elkhart County Sheriff’s Office said. The updated information came after eyewitness and video evidence was located. Police had originally said the driver of the other car crossed center.

Police said everyone in the crash had on seatbelts and airbags did deploy.

Rep. Walorski's career

Walorski and her husband were previously Christian missionaries in Romania, where they established a foundation that provided food and medical supplies to impoverished children. She worked as a television news reporter in South Bend before turning to politics.

Walorski spent her political career focused on growing the economy and bringing good jobs to northern Indiana. She also sought to strengthen national security and help veterans in need of care. 

"At every level of public service, Jackie was known to be a positive force of nature, a patriot, and a relentless policymaker with an unwavering loyalty to her constituents," Holcomb said. "Jackie’s record of achievement is impossible to quantify."

She served on the House Ways and Means Committee, giving her the opportunity to play a crucial role in how leaders use the nation's funding. 

She also was a ranking member of the subcommittee on Worker and Family Support, where she focused on helping small businesses and manufacturers grow and expanding opportunities for workers across the country, according to her biography on the U.S. House of Representatives' website. 

She was also a ranking member of the House Ethics Committee. 

Holcomb said Walorski will be remembered as, "a fighter with a huge heart that always went the extra mile and I’ll treasure the times we walked a few of those together."

Walorski won the Republican primary in May after running unopposed and was heavily favorited to retain her seat for a sixth term in November.

Republicans will have to choose another candidate to run in the general election, but state GOP leaders say she'll be hard to replace.

"Yeah, haven't even given that any thought. I mean, they won't be able to fill her shoes, they just won't. She was one of a kind," said Indiana Republican Party chairman Kyle Hupfer.

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