Democrats expanded their majority on the Indianapolis City-Council Council on Tuesday by at least five seats—and possibly six, depending on the outcome of a race with a razor-thin margin.
Democrats had a 14-11 majority leading into Election Day. If the unofficial results posted at 11:10 p.m. on Tuesday hold up, Democrats will hold a 20-5 majority.
In one of the biggest losses for Republicans, the council’s GOP leader, Mike McQuillen was defeated in District 4 by Democrat Ethan Evans, who had 52% of the vote. McQuillen was first elected to the council in 2008,
The closest race was in District 15, where Democrat Jessica McCormick appeared to defeat incumbent Republican Andy Harris, who had been appointed to the seat earlier this year to replace Republican Marilyn Pfisterer, who retired. McCormick had a lead of less than 50 votes, according to unofficial returns.
Another GOP incumbent, Janice McHenry, who was first elected to the council in 2007, lost her District 6 seat to Democratic challenger Crista Carlino, who won 52% of the vote.
“Right now, I’m really disappointed because I feel that I’ve proven myself as being someone who is really concerned about our community and really works hard for our community,” McHenry said.
She said she’s also surprised that some of her GOP colleagues struggled.
“I know how hard they worked and how hard they’re out there for their communities,” she said. “It floors me because it seems like hard work and dedication, honesty and caring about your community is not what people are looking for, and I’m not sure what they are looking for.”
Democrats won several other GOP seats.
In District 5, Democrat Alison Brown had 55% of the vote over Republican Adam Cox in a battle for an open seat.
In District 2, Democrat Keith Potts defeated first-term City-County Councilor Colleen Fanning, a Republican. Potts had 62% of the vote.
And in District 16—an open seat currently held by a Republican—Democrat Kristin Jones won with 53% of the vote over Republican Laura Giffel.
The strong showing from Democrats came on a night when incumbent Mayor Joe Hogsett won by a margin of more than 40 points over Republican challenger Jim Merritt.
“I think it’s clear [voters] want Democrats to lead the city,” U.S. Rep. Andre Carson said at a post-election Democratic party at the Athenaeum on Tuesday night.
In District 3, which is an open seat currently held by Democrats, Democrat Dan Boots won with 64% of the vote over Republican Dan Jones. Democrat John Barth defeated Republican Stu Rhodes with 87% of the vote in the open District 7 seat.
Republicans held onto the District 18, 23 and 24 seats, which were all open but controlled by the GOP. Michael-Paul Hart, Paul Annee and Michael Dilk all won over Democratic opponents.
Republican incumbents Jason Holliday and Brian Mowery defeated their opponents in Districts 20 and 25, respectively.
Democratic incumbents Leroy Robinson, Monroe Gray Jr., William (Duke) Oliver, Maggie Lewis, Vop Osili, Blake Johnson, Keith Graves, La Keisha Jackson, Zach Adamson, David Ray, Frank Mascari and Jared Evans won re-election.
Current City-County Council president Vop Osili said the Democratic council wins are important in moving the mayor’s vision and initiatives forward in the next four years.
“The mayor often talks about this being one city,” he said. “What are those initiatives that help further that goal and that vision of this being one city? And when you think about issues like equity, opportunity, I do believe those will factor pretty significantly in the policies as they go forward. I imagine you will see those as the baseline of all that goes forward.”
“It’s been a great night,” he said.