Democrat beats Republican incumbent in Zionsville mayoral race

A Democrat has unseated Republican incumbent Tim Haak to become Zionsville’s third mayor.

Emily Styron

Emily Styron beat Haak, who was running for a second term, by 88 votes in Tuesday’s election. Haak was elected in November 2015 to serve as the town’s first elected mayor. He succeeded Republican Jeff Papa, who was appointed when the town transitioned to a governmental structure, and did not seek a full term.

Styron, a Zionsville resident since 2000, worked for Republican Indianapolis Mayor Steve Goldsmith and now works for Ivy Tech Community College.

She has said the town’s lack of a successful track record for economic and community development led her to step forward as a candidate for mayor. Styron has been critical of progress made in Creekside Corporate Park, where development has been slow since the town invested more than $4.5 million in infrastructure improvements to attract corporate businesses to the area.

Styron also stepped up as town leaders and residents debated a controversial proposal to build apartments and retail at the corner of Sycamore and Second streets in the village. That project was eventually rejected by the town council but likely still bothered voters as they went to the polls. Many residents felt town leaders hadn’t been upfront about the project.

Haak previously was a member of the town council and worked for the Indiana Economic Development Corp. His achievements as mayor include hitting a tax ratio that’s 80% residential and 20% commercial, a goal first set by the town council 10 years ago, implementing an updated smoking ban in the town’s public spaces and assigning a sworn-in Zionsville police officer to each of the town’s public schools.

Haak could not immediately be reached for comment, but in a Facebook post he said it has been a privilege to serve as mayor of his hometown, where he has lived since he was a boy.

“I have the deepest gratitude this evening for the volunteers and supporters who gave their time, skills and resources to this campaign,” he said in the post. “Zionsville is a better place because you stepped up to the plate.”

In a Facebook post of her own, Styron thanked Haak for running a positive campaign. She takes office Jan. 1.

“Over the past six months, this campaign has centered around exchanging ideas and opportunities for the town of Zionsville with as many residents and business owners we could reach,” Styron wrote in a post on Facebook. “Tonight, those conversations translated into votes. I am humbled and grateful for the confidence voters have placed in me and am excited to step forward and serve as our mayor.”

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6 thoughts on “Democrat beats Republican incumbent in Zionsville mayoral race

  1. This is inaccurate and disrespectful. Zionsville residents have never in their history had the opportunity to vote for a mayor in a primary or general election. Not in 2015 or ever. This was the first mayor’s race ever in Zionsville and Emily Styron is the town’s first ever elected Mayor. IBJ should do better.

  2. Emily worked tirelessly to win this election. She met with and listened to voters, and she provided a solid plan for bringing new businesses to Zionsville. She will make an excellent mayor, the first one to be elected by the voters.

  3. Lydia, last night when we were doing background on Tim Haak, we came across numerous articles that described him as the first elected mayor of Zionsville. On further checking today, it looks like he ran unopposed in the previous election, which is what you’re referring to. However, unopposed candidates are still considered elected officials. Haak was the first mayor of Zionsville to run for election. His predecessor was appointed.

    1. Jeff- Your double checking of the records and history is incorrect. Mayor Haak was not a candidate on a primary or general ballot in 2015. He couldn’t run unopposed if he was never on a ballot for the residents to vote and elect him. Please check the election records and correct the information.

      Boone Primary Election 2015
      https://s3.amazonaws.com/tempo-cms-vfs/site-e83013bb-501b-4380-88ba-7e581cbfd28f/vfs-2c18defa-92c0-42fb-ad2b-f014c67db8e5

      Boone County General Election 2015
      https://s3.amazonaws.com/tempo-cms-vfs/site-e83013bb-501b-4380-88ba-7e581cbfd28f/vfs-0bbc88a4-f7fc-470d-ac76-9cb11129f8ee

      Or please share data with me about how many primary or general election votes Mayor Haak received as an unopposed candidate previously to be the first elected Mayor by the residents of Zionsville. Please site your sources.

      I respectfully request that you update the inaccurate statement in the IBJ about the Zionsville race. Words matter. Documenting history accurately matters.

      In the same way that the IBJ took other publications articles describing Tim Haak as the first elected mayor as fact, I don’t want others to see your reporting on this race with inaccurate statements.

  4. Jeff, Haak was pretty much “appointed & anointed” after being on the Town Council and Town Board, regardless of what 2015 election results reflect. The residents who have watched the area’s economic development cater to a handful of investors, property owners and back pocket friends came out and made their voices known.

    It has been painful to watch as long as I have lived there (20+ years). Not just villagers live in Zionsville – something the purists eschew, but we not only pay taxes, support the community and local businesses & services, we also have educations and understand that empty properties and developments do NOTHING for the town (ROI, anyone??) From issuing TIFFs for simple area relocations (hello, Hat World – where are they now???), to ensuring projects someone doesn’t like get struck down (assisted living, SMALL multi-family & retail in the VILLAGE of all places), it’s no wonder the same folks coming out to support the schools decided for a new direction.

  5. People should be asking how a “full time” Vice President at Ivy Tech had the ability to run for public office? Did she take a leave of absence I doubt it. I have seen her ability to lead first had and I am sorry to say the town will be disappointed. I hate being the negative nancy about something like this and I love to see democrats getting elected but the only good that will come from this is one less VP salary at Ivy Tech.