As we wake up the day after Election Day, votes continue to be counted in many communities across the country. It appears we may be waiting several days – or even weeks for necessary runoffs – to know the final balance of power in the US Senate and Congress. Just 24 hours ago, many were expecting a “red wave” that would lead to a 20+ seat Republican gain in the US House and the potential change of power to the Republicans in the Senate. There are many news outlets covering this story, so we will leave the detailed coverage of those federal stories to others and focus just on Indiana elections. Some were expecting one of those GOP pickups in the House to happen in NW Indiana’s 1st Congressional District where first-term Congressman Frank Mrvan (D) was being challenged by Jennifer-Ruth Green. Like many other predictions, this did not come to fruition, and with 96% of the vote counted, Mrvan is predicted to win the seat with more than 52% of the vote.
All of Indiana’s Congressmen/women won re-election, including local Congressman Larry Bucshon. Newcomers to the IN delegation include Republicans Erin Houchin in the 9th District (where Trey Hollingsworth did not run for re-election) and Rudy Yakym in the 2nd District (replacing Jackie Walorski who was killed in an auto accident this summer). Current US Senator Todd Young (R) handily won re-election with 58% of the vote over Hammond Mayor Tom McDermott (D) and Libertarian James Sceniak.
The other 3 statewide races in Indiana were won by the GOP candidates. Incumbent Tera Klutz for Auditor, newcomer Daniel Elliott for Treasurer, and Diego Morales as Secretary of State after he survived a slew of serious allegations about his personal and professional qualifications and a spirited campaign from Democrat opponent Destiny Wells.
Focusing on the Indiana Statehouse, we know there will be several new legislators from districts across the state, and it appears – if all current results/predictions hold – that the GOP has picked up 1 seat in the Senate to create a 40-10 GOP Majority and the House will keep the same balance of 71R – 29D. The GOP picked up two seats in the Senate in SD 1 (NW IN) where Daniel Dernulc defeated incumbent Mike Griffin and in SD 26 (in/around Anderson) where Scott Alexander defeated current State Rep. Melanie Wright in the seat where incumbent Tim Lanane (D) did not run for re-election. Four seats changed parties in the House with all other seats maintained by the current political party holding the seat even if the incumbent did not run for re-election. The GOP picked up HD 36 (in/around Anderson) where Kyle Pierce defeated incumbent Terri Austin and HD 71 (SE IN) where Scott Hawkins defeated incumbent Rita Fleming. The Democrats turned over control in two open seats that were created during the redistricting process: HD 82 (Fort Wayne) where Kyle Miller defeated Davyd Jones and HD 32 (NE Indy suburbs) where Victoria Garcia Wilburn defeated Fred Glynn.
All of the Southwest Indiana legislators earned re-election and will continue to represent us in Indianapolis. We will learn more about the upcoming legislative session, including any further changes in leadership, when Legislators convene for Organization Day in two weeks on Tuesday, November 22nd.
In Southwest Indiana, Republicans were largely successful in county races across our region. Here is what we know along with links for you to learn more.
- One of the biggest stories on election night in Evansville was the longer-than-normal wait for results as the Election Office website was down. Final vote tallies were posted just before 11:30 p.m.
- Noah Robinson was the only successful Democrat in the county races as he defeated Jeff Hales to become Sheriff.
- The GOP swept all the other races including: Justin Elpers for Commissioner (giving the GOP the majority on this 3-person board), Jim Raben for Council District #1, Diana Moers for Prosecutor, Brian Gerth for Auditor, and Bill Fluty for Assessor.
- The Evansville-Vanderburgh School Board will see some new faces as Mike Duckworth, David Hollingsworth (incumbent), Chris Kiefer (incumbent) and Melissa Morehead-Moore were victorious in the race for 4 seats.
- Republicans swept the contested county races in Gibson County with Nick Burns for Commissioner, Hannah White for Council, Bruce Vanoven for Sheriff, and Sherri Smith for Clerk.
- Several school board seats were also contested. For East Gibson School Board, Joshua Brewer and Lynn Rowe were successful and Rachel Johnson Hileman winning the race for a seat on the South Gibson School Board.
- There were only 2 contested county races in Posey County – the GOP took both. Incumbent Sheriff Tom Latham will continue to serve and Jerry Chastain III will join the County Council.
- In the race for Mt. Vernon School Board, Kendra Bisesi and Lindsey Bowers will be joining the school board.
- Warrick County only had 1 contested County race where incumbent Richard Reid (R) defeated his challenger to continue serving on the County Council
- The Warrick County School Board will have one new member as Eric Franz joined successful incumbents Jordan Aigner, Jeffrey Baker and Jane Wilhelmus in earning seats on the board.
We hope you were able to vote and participate in the important process of selecting those who will lead our country, state, and regional communities. We’ll be in touch over the next few weeks as we learn more about the issues rising to the top as these new officials begin planning their work.