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Mayoral roundup: Republicans dominate elections

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Republicans are trumpeting Tuesday's election wins that gave the party a majority of Indiana's mayor's offices.

Republicans picked up city halls in Evansville, Columbus, Jeffersonville and several other cities. The GOP held onto seats in cities such as Indianapolis and Terre Haute while falling short of taking Fort Wayne's top spot.

A Republican Party tally gives the GOP a 61-54 majority over Democrats among the state's mayor's offices — a shift from a 68-48 Democratic lead. Two races remained to close to call, and independents won two other seats.

GOP spokesman Pete Seat says voters responded to the party's message of fiscal responsibility and low taxes.

But IUPUI political analyst Brian Vargus attributes the shift to a "Throw the Bums Out" mentality among voters unhappy with the nation's direction.

The battle between Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard and challenger Melina Kennedy took the spotlight, but many other mayors were elected in Marion County, the suburbs and around the state.

Elsewhere in Marion County:

— In Lawrence, Democratic challenger Dean Jessup defeated Republican Paul Ricketts with 54 percent of the vote.

— In Beech Grove, newcomer Dennis Buckley, a Democrat, took 61 percent of the vote to beat Republican Terry Dilk.

— In Southport, Vernon Testruth, a Republican newcomer, ran unopposed.

In suburban counties:

— In Noblesville, Republican John Ditslear easily downed independent Mike Corbett to win a third term.

—In Westfield, incumbent Andy Cook, a Republican, topped Todd Hoard, an independent, and two other candidates by a wide margin to gain a second term.

— In Franklin, Republican Joe McGuinness beat independent incumbent Fred Paris with 67 percent of the vote.

— In Greenwood, Republican Mark Myers, who beat four-time mayor Charles Henderson in the primary, topped David Payne, an independent.

— In Anderson, incumbent Democrat Kris Ockomon lost to former Republican Mayor Kevin Smith in a re-match of the 2007 election, when Ockomon narrowly defeated Smith.

— In Carmel, Republican Mayor James Brainard was unopposed for a fifth term.

— In Greenfield, Republican Richard Pasco, who defeated the incumbent in the primary, beat Libertarian Phil Miller.

— In Shelbyville, Democrat Thomas DeBaun handily defeated Republican Jeff Sponsel. Both were first-time mayoral candidates.

— In Martinsville, Republican Phil Deckard won his fourth term as mayor by topping Democrat Shawn Hogan.

Elsewhere around the state:

— Bloomington: Democratic Mayor Mark Kruzan was unopposed in his bid for a third term.

— Fort Wayne: Democrat Tom Henry won a second term after a bitter campaign against former Allen County Councilwoman Paula Hughes.

— Evansville: Republican Vanderburgh County commissioner Lloyd Winnecke won 54 percent of the vote to defeat Democratic county treasurer Rick Davis. Winnecke will succeed Democrat Jonathan Weinzapfel, who didn't seek a third term.

— South Bend: Pete Buttigieg, the unsuccessful Democratic candidate for state treasurer last year, defeated Republican Wayne Curry in the heavily Democratic city. Democrat Stephen Luecke is stepping down after leading the city since 1997.

— Frankfort: A 23-year-old recent college graduate, Chris McBarnes, won with 75 percent of the vote over two other candidates. He won the Republican primary in May just weeks before his graduation from Butler University. Frankfort is a 16,000-person city about 25 miles southeast of Lafayette.

— Hammond: Democratic Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr. easily won a third term against Republican George Janiec, who lost to McDermott four years ago by about 500 votes.

— Gary: Former state Attorney General Karen Freeman-Wilson easily defeated Republican Charles Smith Jr. in a city that hasn't elected a GOP mayor since the 1930s. Democrat Rudy Clay didn't seek re-election because of health problems.

— Muncie: State Rep. Dennis Tyler became the city's first Democratic mayor in 20 years, soundly defeating Republican Mayor Sharon McShurley in her bid for a second term.

— Lafayette: Democratic Mayor Tony Roswarski was unopposed for a third term after the Republican who won the primary withdrew and party leaders decided to not replace him.

— Terre Haute: Republican Mayor Duke Bennett, a narrow winner in the 2007 election, broke a streak that saw the city's last four mayors lose re-election bids. Bennett defeated Democrat Fred Nation, an Indianapolis Motor Speedway executive who was press secretary for then-Gov. Evan Bayh.

— Mishawaka: Incumbent Republican Dave Wood, who won a GOP caucus last year after Jeff Rea resigned, defeated Democrat Craig Fry, a state representative since 1988.

— Kokomo: Democrat Greg Goodnight handily won a second term, defeating Republican Scott Kern, a firefighter.

— Columbus: Republican Kristen Brown, a software company executive, received more than 67 percent of the vote to become Columbus' next mayor. Democratic City Councilwoman Priscilla Scalf received about 33 percent of the vote in the race to replace Mayor Fred Armstrong, a Democrat who is leaving office after 16 years.
 

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