Dr. Jon Brandenberger could be a step closer to getting his old job back.
Brandenberger, 71, was Allen County coroner from 2005 to 2012, when term limits prevented him from running for another consecutive term. Now a Parkview family physician, he's running for the office again – and returns from Tuesday's Republican primary election show him leading opponent Joel Nagel.
By the end of the night, 8,677 voters had cast ballots for Brandenberger, while 4,379 voted for Nagel, 41.
But the race isn't over, because only the results of machine voting were made public. Election officials will start hand-counting more than 34,500 mail-in ballots today.
The county received a surge of absentee ballots this year because of concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic.
A nurse practitioner with more than 20 years of experience treating victims of trauma such as gunshot wounds, Nagel co-owns Rounding Providers, a business that delivers medical and psychological care to residents of long-term care facilities. He argues that medical expertise and administrative experience make him a perfect fit for the office.
Nagel has said he would put in place changes including technology upgrades and an increased focus on organ donation at the coroner's office. He maintains that better budgeting is needed, too, citing requests by the office nearly every year for more money.
Brandenberger has run largely on his experience as coroner and, before that, deputy coroner. The office is “reactive,” he said in May, and extra funding is often needed because the coroner – charged with overseeing the county office that conducts autopsies – can't predict an uptick in homicides or car accidents.
Nagel and Brandenberger want to succeed Coroner Dr. Craig Nelson, who is barred from seeking a third term because of term limits. No Democrats have filed to run in the general election in November. Democrats can still appoint a candidate this summer.
The coroner earned $54,039.20 in 2019, according to salary data kept by the state.