GRANGER, Ind. — Long-time Republican St. Joseph County Commissioner, Andy Kostielney, says he will not run for re-election in the county’s 1st district.
“I’m going to finish out my term, but I’m not going to seek re-election.” Kostielney told RNM during an exclusive interview. “It’s a decision for my health and for my family… the last election was pretty rough. The indication is this will be even rougher. I need to do what’s best for my family”
Kostielney’s term runs through 2022. By the end, he will have served on the County Commission for 14 years.
“(Healthwise) I’m doing good. I could be doing better.” Kostielney said. “In talking with my physicians and stuff. They really wanted me to kind of step away.”
Kostielney was diagnosed with an extremely aggressive form of prostate cancer about two years ago. He’s already gone through surgery and is currently still getting treatment.
“(Treatments) Are for sure going to last through the end of April. At my last appointment it was put out there that there is a realistic possibility that it’s going to be extended for a few months, if not a few years.” Kostielney explained.
RNM asked Kostielney if the current divisive political climate was also a reason for his decision.
“It doesn’t make it easy. 10 years ago when I ran, sure there were Democrats and Republicans, Liberals and Conservatives and we didn’t always see eye-to-eye. But, it was easier to conduct business. It wasn’t so polarizing as it is now.” He said. “That’s one on the reasons why, from my family stand point, I didn’t want to put them through what would be a pretty vicious and nasty campaign. At least, from what I’ve experienced in the past, my opponents have never been very classy in how they’ve chosen to attack me and my family.”
It’s not clear who will run for the seat for the GOP. Former St. Joseph County Democrat Party Chair and failed Mayoral candidate, Jason Critchlow, had already been raising money and campaigning on the Democrat side. However, a new proposed district map now has Critchlow living outside of the 1st district. If the map is approved, he would have to move into the district or be ineligible to hold the seat.