ELECTION BLOG: District 32 race too close to call | Hunley, Houchin win; Rep. John Young defeated

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IBJ will update this blog throughout Election Day with the latest developments.

11:30 p.m.: Bell’s win sets up change in Marion County Democratic Party leadership

Marion County Democratic Party Chair Kate Sweeney Bell was headed toward victory Tuesday night in the primary race for county clerk, leading her non-slated primary opponent, former state Sen. Billie Breaux.

As of 11:15 p.m., Bell had 55% of Indianapolis Democrats’ primary votes, with 96% of vote centers reporting results.

Bell has said that if she wins, she’d “absolutely” step down from her party leadership job, where she has been under fire for the way the party picks candidates to endorse in the primary.

Read the full story.

11:10 p.m.: District 32’s GOP primary still too close to call

The Republican primary race for the newly drawn House District 32 remains too close to call with the candidates within single digits, according to preliminary votes in Marion and Hamilton counties.

Hamilton County Council member Fred Glynn held a slim lead with 1,776 votes in Hamilton County to Suzie Jaworowski’s 1,746 with all precincts reporting.

But Jaworowski was leading in Marion County—where there are only five precincts in the districts—with 91 votes to Glynn’s 68, with 96% of vote centers reporting countywide. Because the county uses a system that allow voters to cast their ballots anywhere, it’s not clear how many ballots in the race remain uncounted.

10:59 p.m.: Hunley defeats slated candidate to win Democratic state Senate nomination

Andrea Hunley, a school principal, won the five-way primary in a new state Senate seat in Indianapolis, beating the Marion County Democratic Party’s slated candidate.

Kristin Jones, who was the Marion County Democratic Party’s pick for the nomination, had 26.4% of vote. Ashley Eason had 16.3%, Karla Lopez-Owens had 12.7% and Bobby Kern had 1% of the vote.

See the full story.

10:10 p.m.: HamCo councilor unseated

A longtime Hamilton County Council member lost his seat in Tuesday’s primary election.

Mark Hall defeated five-term incumbent Steve Schwartz in the District 3 election. District 3 includes Noblesville, Jackson and White River Townships.

Read the full story.

10:03 p.m.: Greene unseats Young in House District 47

Robb Greene has won the GOP nomination in House District 47 over incumbent Rep. John Young.

With 83% of the votes counted in Johnson and Shelby counties, Greene had 47.9% of the vote, over Young, who had 29.9%. Luke Campbell was in third with 19.4% and Scott Strother with 2.8%.

No Democratic candidate filed to run in District 47.

9:45 p.m.: Houchin wins GOP primary in 9th District Congressional race

Former state Sen. Erin Houchin has won a crowded primary in Indiana’s 9th Congressional District, an open seat following Republican Rep. Trey Hollingsworth’s decision not to seek reelection.

She will face Matthew Fyfe, who won the Democratic nomination in a three-way race.

With 86% of the vote reported, Houchin had 37% of the vote over 26% for former Rep. Mike Sodrel, who held the seat for one term. Stu Barnes-Israel was in third with 21% with six other candidates behind him.

“I am honored that Hoosier Republicans across southern Indiana have entrusted me with their vote,” Houchin said in a statement. “I’ve spent my life in the 9th District, and look forward to carrying our momentum through November and being the proven conservative fighter we need in Washington. It’s time to push back against the radical Biden-Pelosi agenda and take our country back.”

9:41 p.m.: Democratic Party chair leads in controversial clerk’s race

Marion County Democratic Party Chair Kate Sweeney Bell, who is now the county recorder, has racked up a solid lead in the primary race for county clerk, against former state Sen. Billie Breaux.

With 58% of vote centers reporting results, provisional results show Bell has 57% share of the vote, with Breaux taking 43%.

Bell, who’s faced criticism over how she’s handled slating as chair, is the party’s pre-primary endorsed candidate.

But she’s told IBJ that she’d “absolutely” step down as chair if elected clerk, citing the time commitments both the clerkship and chair post demand.

But in the race for recorder, endorsed candidate Chris Becker, who is currently deputy county recorder, remains behind Faith James Kimbrough.

Kimbrough, who works in faith-based tech sales, had earned 54% of the vote to Becker’s 46%.

9:35 p.m.: Perry Township school referendum appears likely to pass but opposition winning in Franklin Township

Voters appeared headed toward approving the extension of a property tax increase for Perry Township schools, but a property tax hike for Franklin Township schools was receiving heavy opposition Tuesday night.

With about 60% of Marion County vote centers reporting, 59% of Perry Township voters favored an extension of a property tax increase they first approved in 2015.

About 63% of Franklin Township voters were opposed to a tax increase, according to the latest tally at 9:30 p.m. The township’s proposed tax hike was intended to generate about $98.4 million over 22 years, with most of it going toward building an additional wing to the 50-year-old Franklin Central High School and making improvements at six elementary schools.

9:31 p.m.: Glynn leading—barely—in District 32 primary

Hamilton County Council member Fred Glynn continues to hold a slight lead in the Republican primary race for Indiana House District 32.

Glynn received 1,776 votes in Hamilton County to Susie Jaworowski’s 1,746 with all precincts reporting.

In Marion County, Jaworowski holds an eight-vote lead with 46% of the vote in just before 9:30 p.m.

9:13 p.m.: Cash wins House District 25 primary

Becky Cash has nabbed the Republican nomination in House District 25, with 99% of the votes counted in Boone and Hendricks counties.

Cash has 39.4% of the vote in both counties. Kent Abernathy came behind her with 27.1% of the vote, Matt Whetstone with 25.9% and Douglas Rapp with 7.6%

9:10 p.m.: Jacob behind in House District 93 race

Republican Julie McGuire has a significant lead over conservative Rep. John Jacob in the House District 93 primary race on the south side of Indianapolis.

With just 32% of precincts reporting in Marion County, McGuire, who is backed by the Republican establishment, leads with 69% of the vote, and Jacob has 31%.

9:05: Carson, Pence win congressional primaries

Rep. Andre Carson has won the Democratic nomination for U.S. House in Indiana’s 7th Congressional District.

Carson, the incumbent, easily defeated Curtis Godfrey and Pierre Quincy Pullins.

He will likely face Republican Angela Grabovsky in the fall. She was far outpacing four opponents in the GOP primary.

Also, Rep. Greg Pence has won the Republican nomination for U.S. House in Indiana’s 6th Congressional District. Pence, the incumbent, defeated James Dean Alspach.

In the fall, he will likely face Democrat Cynthia Wirth, who was leading George Holland with 73% of the vote.

9:01 p.m.: Garrison defeats three-term prosecutor in Hamilton County

Hamilton County will likely have a new prosecutor next year as a well-funded former radio talk show host was cruising to victory against a three-term incumbent in Tuesday’s Republican primary election.

Greg Garrison has 59% of the vote with 199 of 217 precincts reporting. As of 8:45 p.m., he held a lead of 12,873 votes to 8,940 over D. Lee Buckingham, who has served as prosecutor since 2011.

Read more here.

8:49 p.m.: Hunley leading in Senate race, declares victory

Andrea Hunley

Just a third of the votes have been counted, but already, Democrat Andrea Hunley has sent supporters an email declaring victory.

“I am thrilled to announce that the vote counts are finalized, and you have voted for me to be the Democratic candidate for State Senate District 46,” the email says.

The votes are far from final, though, with 32% reporting, according to the Marion County Clerk’s website.

Those votes show Hunley in the lead with 43.5% of the vote. Kristin Jones, the Marion County Democratic Party slated candidate, with 25.6%, Ashley Eason with 16%, Karla Lopes Owens with 13.6% and Bobby Kern with 1%.

8:44 p.m.: Cash is leading 4-way House race

Republican Becky Cash is leading in the House District 25 four-way GOP primary, with 84% of the votes counted in Boone and Hendricks counties.

Cash, a naturopathic practitioner from Zionsville, is ahead with 39.6% of the vote. Kent Abernathy is behind her with 27.5% of the vote, former state lawmaker Matt Whetstone with 24.5% and Douglas Rapp with 8.4%.

8:38 p.m.: HamCo incumbent councilor behind 

Five-term Hamilton County Council member Steve Schwartz is in danger of losing to his primary opponent.

Mark Hall, who lost to Schwartz in 2018, has 58% of the vote in the District 3 race with 199 of 217 precincts reporting.

In District 1, Carmel Fire Department firefighter Tim Griffin has 71% of the vote in his race against former Carmel City Council member John Accetturo.

8:30 p.m.: Split results on slated countywide candidates

Results for nearly 18% of votes are in for Marion County, representing 32 of 181 vote centers.

The early counts show county clerk candidate Kate Sweeney Bell, the chair of the Marion County Democratic Party, with an early lead over former state Sen. Billie Breaux, with almost 57% of the vote cast today counted. Bell was the party’s pre-primary endorsed candidate, but she has faced criticism in the way she has handled party slating.

In the race for county recorder, Faith James Kimbrough had an early lead over pre-primary endorsed candidate Chris Becker, who’s currently deputy recorder. Kimbrough had nearly 53% of the vote.

Marion County Democratic Party Chairman Kate Bell is running for county clerk against former state Sen. Billie Breaux in a race that could shape the future of the Marion County party. (IBJ photo)

8:26 p.m.: Garrison leads incumbent Lee in HamCo prosecutor race

Greg Garrison, a former conservative radio talk show host, is leading Hamilton County Prosecutor D. Lee Buckingham in the race for the county’s top law enforcement officer.

Garrison has 59% of the vote with 199 of 217 precincts reporting as of 8:15 p.m. He currently holds a lead of 12,873 votes to 8,940.

Buckingham has served as Hamilton County Prosecutor since 2011. This is the first year in which he faced a primary challenger.

Garrison was supported in the election by former Vice President Mike Pence, who hosted a fundraiser for Garrison in April with the priciest tickets going for $5,000 each.

8:22 p.m.: Glynn, Jaworowski in tight HamCo legislative race

A razor-thin margin separates Republican primary candidates Fred Glynn and Suzie Jaworowski in the race for Indiana House District 32.

With 199 of 217 precincts reporting, Glynn leads Jaworowski by six votes—1,463 to 1,457.

Glynn is a two-term Hamilton County Council member who decided to not seek another term on the council after the House District 32 seat became available.

Jaworowski served as chief of staff in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy during the Trump administration.

8:15 p.m.: Greene leads against incumbent Republican Rep. Young in Johnson, Shelby counties House race

With 73% of the votes counted between Johnson and Shelby counties, Republican Robb Greene is leading incumbent Rep. John Young in House District 47.

Greene has 49.9% of the votes from both counties, with Young behind him with 29.2%. Luke Campbell has 18% and Scott Strother 2.9%

In his home county of Shelby County, Greene is ahead with 65.6% of the vote, Campbell with 20% and Young 12.2%. Greene’s lead is narrower in Johnson County with 41% of the vote, and Young with 37%.

7:51 p.m.: First results show Hunley with a lead

With just 7% of ballots from Marion County vote centers reporting, Andrea Hunley leads in the five-way Democratic primary for Indiana Senate District 46 in Indianapolis.

Hunley leads with 49.4% of the vote. Kristin Jones is behind her with 19.8%, Karla Lopez Owens with 15.2%, Ashley Eason with 14.4% and Bobby Kern with 1%.

7:30 p.m.: Photos from Election Day in Marion County

6 p.m.: Polls close in Indianapolis region and the majority of the state

Polls around central Indiana and most of the rest of the state closed at 6 p.m. Tuesday.

Nearly 56,000 people had cast Election Day votes in Marion County by then, according to Marion County Election Board Deputy Director Brent Stinson.

But there are still votes trickling in.

Those already in line by 6 p.m. can still cast a ballot. And in some slivers of Indiana that are on Central time, there’s still an hour to go.

3:05 p.m.: Vote centers rack up voters

Despite reports of sparse turnout from some individual vote centers, more than three times as many Marion County residents had voted in nine hours on Election Day than in the month of pre-Election Day in-person voting—with several hours left to go.

About 38,367 voters had completed ballots as of 3:05 p.m., according to Marion County Election Board Deputy Director Brent Stinson. That’s well over three times the number that voted early in person: 11,234.

But there are also 180-plus places to vote on Election Day, compared to the nine township-based early voting sites.

“I don’t know if the weather kept them away this morning, or maybe it’s just the number of sites that people can get to, just spreading out the demand,” Stinson said.

“So far, the day’s been pretty good,” he added, describing a day of rush periods (early morning, lunchtime and early evening) punctuated by lulls.

Another 5,581 residents have returned mail-in ballots, pushing the total so far to 55,182 votes cast.

And there are three hours left to go. Polls close at 6 p.m.

Poll workers at the City-County Building await voters. (IBJ photo/Daniel Bradley)

11:30 a.m.: Marion County poll workers see some voters turn out for 5-way Democratic contest for state Senate

Election Day has been a part of Michael Crawford’s life for 50 years, and he was back working at the polls for Tuesday’s primary election.

Crawford, son of the late State Rep. Bill Crawford, D-Indianapolis, served as inspector at the voting center in the City-County Building.

“It’s always exciting on primary day,” he said.

Crawford, 64, began working in politics in 1972, the year his father first ran for the Indiana Statehouse.

Bill Crawford, one of the longest-serving Black lawmakers in U.S. history, served from 1973 to 2012. He died in 2015 at age 79.

Crawford noted that crowds at the City-County Building were slow around 10:15 a.m. with early voting keeping the Election Day crowds down more so than the rain.

However, Crawford said around 120 people had cast their votes since he arrived at 9 a.m.

Bernice Corley was one of those voters. While Corley declined to say which candidate she supported, she said the race for Indiana Senate District 46 was important to her.

Five Democrats—Ashley Eason, Andrea Hunley, Kristin Jones, Karla Lopez-Owens and Bobby Kern—are running for the District 46 seat.

“I feel like it’s our duty to do it, so I always vote,” Corley said.

10 a.m.: Johnson County voters drawn by Republican contests for prosecutor, state representative

The two races in the primary election on voters’ minds in Johnson County are two hotly contested Republican primaries for county prosecutor and an Indiana House seat in Franklin.

Former Johnson County prosecutor and Johnson Superior Court Judge Lance Hamner is challenging incumbent prosecutor Joe Villanueva.

Political signs for both candidates are on nearly every corner in Johnson County. The heated primary has been the talk of the county on social media as well, with different voters making posts for the past few months about why they are voting for either Hamner or Villanueva.

Jessica Shaber, of Franklin, was one of a few voters who trickled into the Franklin Arts and Recreation Center mid-morning. She said she thought the most important races locally were the prosecutor race, along with Indiana House District 47.

Incumbent state Rep. John Young is facing three Republican primary challengers in District 47: Robb Greene, Luke Campbell and Scott Strother.

Shaber said she voted for Young and Hamner because they aligned best with her values.

“Their views and ideals aligned best with what my views and ideals are, and what I want to raise my children to see,” Shaber said.

Garry Smith said he voted because he’s “tired of the way things are going” with current elected officials representing the county.

He wouldn’t name who he supported in what race but said he thought it was time for new leadership.

“I think we literally need to flush the old and get the new,” Smith said.

Supporters campaigning for Hamner, Villanueva and Young were sitting outside the community center, armed with umbrellas and raincoats.

House candidate Greene was also standing outside chatting with voters walking in or out.

He said it has been a slow morning for turnout, but he talked to a few people coming in or out. Some were people going to vote, some just coming by the use the recreation center.

Greene, of Shelbyville, said he entered the race for House District 47 because of his son who has special needs. Greene said he wants to be an advocate for those with special needs, and he felt the General Assembly has not done that. He also said he wants to focus on workforce development.

He said he was not sure he could predict how he would fare in this primary, running in a crowded race against an incumbent and he expects voter turnout to be low. But he said said overall felt hopeful in his chances.

“The last two years kind of increasingly made, you know, our community a little bit more invisible in the Statehouse . So, you know, at the at the heart of my campaign, it is really just about being a voice for that community,” Greene said.

8:30 a.m. Trickle of voters say sense of duty brought them to the polls

A light—but steady—trickle of voters made its way past a line of poll workers at Indianapolis’ government headquarters Tuesday morning for primary elections.

Several voters said they’d made the trip downtown out of a sense of civic duty, rather than an interest in any one race.

“It’s what we do,” said one woman, who sported a purple jacket that matched her hair. She declined to be named.

“I just wanted to come out and do my job,” said another man, dressed in gray, who also declined to be named.

Others wanted to boost specific candidates.

Asked why he turned out, Marvin Smith II said he wanted to help Indiana Senate District 46 candidate Andrea Hunley get elected.

“Being a former educator, and still [working] in the educational space, someone who’s actually been there and had experience is important, with her being principal [of an Indianapolis Public School],” Smith said.

Vince Steiner said when he walked by Wheeler Mission, Denise Paul Hatch, Center Township Small Claims Court constable candidate, asked him to vote for her.

“I thought, well, I’m going to do that for you, Denise. I’m going to take care of that,” Steiner said. “… Today I heard in Starbucks, ‘Hey, today’s voting day,’ and it might be the last day to vote, so I got out, rain or shine.”

Despite an address mix-up related to his homelessness, Steiner said he was able to cast his ballot.

6:02 a.m.: One Marion County polling place started the day by turning away voters

Carol Bryant carefully pushed open the door to the Salvation Army’s squat Lewis Community Center in Fountain Square. Rain splattered and pooled on the concrete strip underneath. Beyond the reach of the fluorescent lighting: no voters.

For Carol and James Bryant, the married duo manning the voting center, it wasn’t a surprise.

“You know, on an off year and a primary, … pouring down rain, I mean, you’ve got three strikes against us,” Carol Bryant said.

Half a mile away, at Indianapolis Fire Department Station 3, poll workers were redirecting the morning’s scant voters to other voting centers as they worked to resolve some technical difficulties. One machine cranked out a lengthy report until the harried voting center inspector hit the pause button and redialed a help hotline.

Voting equipment lays in a pile after poll workers hurriedly pulled it out of the way of a fire truck unexpectedly returning to Indianapolis Fire Department Station 3. (IBJ Photo/Leslie Bonilla Muñiz)

Robert Short, one of two voting center clerks at the location, said that over his two decades of poll work, he’d typically seen about 100 voters on midterm-year primary election days. Short said he hoped the machines would be online by 7 a.m., but didn’t expect turnout to be high.

Asked why he continued the work of running polls on low-interest days, Short said he simply wanted to help.

“Somebody’s got to help,” he said. “I’m showing my grandkids, my kids, you’ve got to pass it on, no matter what the adversity, what the odds, how bad it is—you still do the job.”

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