SOUTH BEND, Ind. — A Democrat attempt to remove the Republican candidate for St. Joseph County Assessor from the November ballot went down in flames on Friday. The St. Joseph County Election Board voted unanimously in favor of Republican candidate Mike Castellon, while dashing the hopes of Democrat Ted Booker who brought the frivolous complaint.
Booker essentially presented several social media posts made by Castellon while he was on vacation in Florida, attempting to prove Castellon was living out of state. Castellon lives in St. Joseph County. However, he and his wife own property in Florida. His wife has claimed the Florida home as her primary residence and filed for a homestead exemption in her name, which is 100% legal. Castellon frequently visits the Florida home, for vacation and weekends.
“With multiple dates, it does appear, at least to me, that you were down there for long stretches of time during the months in question.” Booker said while interviewing Castellon and referring to posts made on his Facebook page.
“So, I wasn’t aware that I wasn’t allowed to take vacation.” Castellon responded. “With that said, often I would leave maybe on a Thursday and come back on a Sunday.”
“(Dates in) January, March, April — you’re characterizing that as vacation time and not time at your Florida home with your family.” Booker then said.
“I think what that would say is what I do on my weekends is irrelevant.” Castellon responded.
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Booker also attempted to railroad Castellon’s candidacy by bringing up the fact that Castellon only owns an empty lot of land and not a home in St. Joseph County. He also brought up that the lot was purchased by Castellon from another Republican. However, Booker doesn’t own any property in St. Joseph County himself. In fact, Booker only moved into St. Joseph County, from Elkhart County, one month before the eligibility requirements to file for his intent to run for the office.
“You make note in your statement here about Mr. Castellon owning a piece of real estate in South Bend. Mr. Booker, do you own any real estate in St. Joseph County, Indiana?” The attorney for Castellon, James Masters asked.
“Not presently.” Booker responded.
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