Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears defeats upstart GOP challenger

Keywords Crime / Elections / Politics

Democratic Prosecutor Ryan Mears held off a spirited challenge from Republican opponent Cyndi Carrasco in one of Marion County’s most-watched races.

As of 9:30 p.m. Tuesday evening and with 77% of vote centers reporting, Mears had 58.5%, to Carrasco’s 41.5%.

Mears’ victory dashed Republicans’ hopes of winning their first countywide race in Indianapolis in a decade, a period in which Marion County became increasingly dominated by Democrats.

Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears speaks to supporters at a Democratic Party event on Tuesday night in Indianapolis. (IBJ photo/Peter Blanchard)

In a statement Tuesday evening, Carrasco conceded and congratulated her opponent.

“We have shaped the narrative, and we have had an impact,” the statement said. “To Ryan Mears, I offer my congratulations and hope you will take the trust voters have placed in you to make much-needed changes in our criminal justice system.”

The win came despite heavy spending by Carrasco on television ads and social media accusing Mears of agreeing to too many “sweetheart deals” for violent criminals. 

“It’s really easy to demonize someone,” Mears said, addressing a crowd of supporters Tuesday night. “But it’s a lot harder to come up with concrete solutions.”

Indiana Democratic Party Chair Mike Schmuhl said that Mears’ victory came despite efforts by outside groups to influence the race with “dark money.” A national PAC paid $350,000 for ads supporting Carrasco.

Throughout his campaign, Mears emphasized the importance of second-chance programs and addressing root causes of crime. He also defended his decisions not to prosecute cases involving possession of small amounts of marijuana or violations of the state’s now-on-hold abortion ban. He said his office wanted more time to focus on the prosecution of violent criminals.

Mears’ opponent criticized his “blanket decisions” not to prosecute certain kinds of crime and for failing to “red flag” the shooter at a mass homicide at a FedEx facility in a way that could have kept him from legally possessing firearms.

Mears’ victory gave him his first elected four-year term as prosecutor. He was chief trial deputy under late Prosecutor Terry Curry when the Democrat announced his resignation due to his worsening health. A Democratic caucus selected Mears to succeed Curry instead of a candidate endorsed by Mayor Joe Hogsett.

Mears has worked in the Prosecutor’s Office for more than 15 years. He received his law degree from Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law.

He grew up in Indianapolis and attended Cardinal Ritter High School, a private, Catholic school on the west side. He played basketball there and later at St. Joseph’s College in Rensselaer.

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10 thoughts on “Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears defeats upstart GOP challenger

    1. Hold your horses Matty. BTW, do you think our city is flourishing under Democrat leadership? Ignorance must be bliss….until you get shot, or hit a pothole and crash into a tree or see empty storefronts and businesses shuttered everywhere.

    2. very accurate – this was my litmus test for 2024 and I texted the appropriate people to withdraw my name from consideration….

      Not worth all that effort to then win and only make 90k for such a huge job, or lose and give up all the earning potential in the interim…

    3. It should be noted that the potholes are the fault of the Marion County Republicans who, in theory, should have an influence with their caucus and do not. They’ve stopped the roads from being fixed two ways.

      First, they fight transit plans that would fix the roads because they insist on roads like Washington Street being two lanes of potholes instead of having one, nice smooth lane and a dedicated bus lane.

      Second, at the same time, they’re unable to deliver for their constituents when it comes to fixing the dramatically unfair road funding formula that makes Marion County a donor for the rest of the state.

      If you’re upset about your tax dollars going to “those people who don’t deserve it”, maybe you should also be upset that your share of road funding is going to pave some road off in a part of Indiana where no one lives and no one drives. They have nicely paved roads thanks to your tax dollars, while you spend all your time at Tire Barn getting your car fixed.

      Go talk to Aaron Freeman, who thinks a “technical fix” will find the billion dollars needed to fix Marion County roads. Yeah, good luck with that. There’s a better chance of fellow inept legislator Mike Young having a coherent thought his upcoming session. Freeman, Young, Speedy, Sandlin. Bad roads are their legacy.

    4. “ In 2021, the state allocated $663 million in road funding to local governments. Marion County received just over $30 million of that, or about 4.5%.

      While Marion County maintains about 8,400 miles of roadway measured by lane miles traveled, it receives funding for only about 3,300 of those lane miles, according to Dan Parker, the new chief of staff for Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett and outgoing director of the city’s Department of Public Works.

      That leaves a 5,100-mile gap, Parker said, because Indiana’s road funding formula allocates gas-tax funds and other revenue by center-line miles rather than by vehicle miles traveled.

      Center-line miles simply measure the length of a road, while vehicle miles traveled per capita is calculated as the total annual miles of vehicle travel divided by the total population in a particular region.

      The state formula benefits thinly populated counties with fewer vehicle miles traveled and generally few lanes.”

  1. Typical Democrat city….

    Just another kick in the teeth for law enforcement and sorrow in the bloody streets for many families losing loved ones as the carnage continues with the “prosecutor” that partners with criminals.

  2. Looks like the GOP constantly fighting progress in Marion County has solidified the fact that they’ll never win Indianapolis again. People in cities care about things like equality, mass transit, and fighting against inequality. There’s no reason to throw people in jail for marijuana possession. Violent crime is an issue in every city in the country, but Republicans offer no solutions to fix it. We have the highest percentage of citizens in jail globally, but that doesn’t seem to help anything. Hopefully Mears focuses more on enforcing red flag laws after this election. That should be a priority.

    1. “Progress”? “Equality”?

      You are too funny Wes. Where does open street defecation fit in your definition of progress?

      Violent crime is a problem, but Republicans aren’t suggesting we need to defang the police. That is precisely what has happened in every Dem-run jurisdiction in the country. Doesn’t matter if defunding was isolated to a few spots. If the police take orders from a police chief who’s working with prosecutor who believes in the infantile “root causes” canard as Mears does.

      But you want “red flag laws” enforced–AKA, thoughtcrime for people who own guns. Mears focuses on the FedEx crime but not the other 200+ homicides for which red flag laws won’t matter since most of them come from people who don’t care about gun control laws. Have “red flag laws” worked anywhere? If a kook gets her or (mostly) his legal guns confiscated, why wouldn’t he go out and procure guns illegally if carnage is his goal?

      Can’t wait for Indy’s homicide rate to increase by 50%. Again. Will it be by ’23 or will we have to wait until ’24? No big deal: it’s mostly just leftists killing other leftists, “fighting against equality” right Wes?

      How are those leprosy and bubonic plague outbreaks treating you in Cali? I’m so jealous not to be where progress bathes the streets like sunshine!

    2. Trust me Wesley, no one is going to jail for just simple possession of
      Marijuana. With all the violent crime in Marion County, that does effect
      quality of life issues, Marijuana is the least of IMPD’s concerns.

  3. You just have to look at all the big democrat run cities to see Indy’s future if Republicans are not ever going to hold the Mayoral office again. Walk downtown now and see the impacts already. Very sad all of the efforts to build up downtown and make it great are being deconstructed post Covid and the riots.

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