Your Southeast Indiana Election Recap: Republicans Have A Day
By Mike Perleberg
Dearborn County political party and election officials await local results on Election Night, November 8. Photo by Mike Perleberg, Eagle Country 99.3.
(Lawrenceburg, Ind.) – While millions of Americans were surprised while watching the outcome of the presidential race, there was very little of the unexpected in southeast Indiana’s local elections Tuesday.
The Republican-leaning area went big for Trump, with the president-elect and running mate Indiana Governor Mike Pence gaining upwards of 70 percent of the vote locally. Many of those voters kept with the GOP consistently down the ballot.
Preliminary voter turnout figures in our area ranged from 51 percent in Switzerland County up to 61 percent in Dearborn County. A turnout figure for Ohio County, which led the state in turnout in the May primary election, was not available Wednesday morning.
Find complete southeast Indiana election results on our Indiana Votes 2016 page.
In Dearborn County, the only Democrat to win an election was uncontested Dillsboro Town Councilman Woody Fryman. In the lone county-wide contested race for Dearborn County Council At-Large, three incumbent Republicans soundly defeated three Democrats. Allen Goodman (26 percent), Bill Ullrich (26 percent) and Charlie Keyes (23 percent) will remain on county council. Democrats Andrew Addison, Timothy Brucz, and John Johnson each had to settle for less than 10 percent of the vote.
Two of the night’s more dramatic moments happened in non-partisan races for local school boards. In the South Dearborn Community Schools district, Karla Scott-Raab, Bill Lane, and Josh Holland were running for just two available seats representing the City of Aurora. Scott-Raab secured re-election with 37.6 percent. However, newcomer Holland may have upset Lane by just five votes – 2,484 to 2,479 – for the second position. Provisional ballots yet to be counted may still influence the outcome, if not a recount.
Incumbent school board president David Lusby won re-election in South Dearborn over Marisa Turner, 62 to 38 percent.
There was an upset for a school board seat at Lawrenceburg Community Schools. Board member Shirley Seitz was ousted by Bob Miller, 56 to 44 percent, in District 2 representing Greendale. Seitz has been on the board since 1997.
Two Sunman-Dearborn School Board spots were up for grabs. Dusty Burress won re-election in District 2, 62 to 38 percent, against Dan Helcher. Sara Hylton defeated Dennis Seibert for the District 3 school board seat, 60 to 40 percent.
Of the 8,840 straight-party ballots marked in Dearborn County, 7,036 – or nearly 80 percent – were for the Republican party.
More ballots arrive for counting in Dearborn County. pic.twitter.com/w8rLSJVPWv
— Eagle Country 99.3 (@eagle993) November 8, 2016
Tom Wilson, a Republican Franklin County Commissioner for District 3, won a landslide re-election bid, defeating Democrat Nathan Roger Mullins with 72.6 percent of the vote.
For County Council At-Large, Franklin County resembled the Dearborn County outcome. Three Republicans defeated three Democrats easily. Glen Bischoff (27 percent), Dean McQueen (23 percent), and current council president Rebecca Oglesby (22 percent) will return to the county’s fiscal board.
In other contested Franklin County races, Republican Constance Bischoff won the county recorder’s office while Veronica Voelker sailed to victory for county treasurer.
Brookville Town Council actually had a Democrat win. Current council president Michael Biltz won against Republican challenger Drew Schneider 58 to 42 percent in Ward 1. Republican Curtis Ward took Ward 2 over Democrat Bob O’Bryan by just six votes, 561 to 555.
Franklin County School Board winners in contested races included Francis Brumback, Rick Gill, and Matthew Seidling.
Two commissioner positions and two county council positions in Ohio County went Republican by varying margins.
Indiana State Police detective Tom Baxter won the Ohio County Commissioner District 2 race with 69 percent of the vote, defeating Democrat Larry Brett. District 3 Commissioner was claimed by fellow Republican Connie Brown over Jerry Pflum Jr., 59 percent to 41 percent.
Two available at-large seats on Ohio County Council were up for grabs among three candidates. Republicans Tammy Elbright (36 percent) and Ron Spurlock (33 percent) left Democrat Mark Guard (30 percent) on the outside looking in.
Jamie Stegemiller, who was caucused in as the county clerk of courts earlier this year, will remain in office thanks to a 62 to 38 percent victor against Democrat Theresa Scott.
Two school board members for Rising Sun-Ohio County Schools were ousted. Incumbent Melissa Brown Morris lost in a landslide to challenger Renee Cole, 72 to 28 percent, in District 2. District 3 board member Billy Hayes will see his time on the board end with 2016 after Andrea Kirkpatrick took 60 percent of the vote.
Candidates wait to learn of election results at the Ripley County Courthouse Annex Building in Versailles on Tuesday, November 8. Photo by Travis Thayer.
Every partisan race in Ripley County went to Republicans. Of the 4,345 straight party ballots cast in the county, 78 percent of them were marked for the GOP.
Former sheriff Rodney Stratton defeated Democrat Chris Bruns, 73 to 27 percent, for Ripley County Commissioner District 2. District 3 Commissioner Gary Stutler, a Republican, was unopposed in his re-election bid.
Democrat Bill Dramann was the odd man out in a four-candidate race for three Ripley County Council At-Large positions. Those went to incumbent Republicans Mark Horstman (28 percent), Brenda Wetzler (27 percent), and Bill Warren (26 percent).
County coroner Ron Reynolds won re-election by a wide margin, defeating Democrat Chris Bruns 73 to 27 percent.
The lone contested town council race in Ripley County was in Osgood. Republican David Bultman defeated Democrat incumbent DeDee Holliday, 323 votes to 234.
Four area school districts are entirely or party in Ripley County, but the only contested races were in Milan and Sunman-Dearborn (see in Dearborn County recap above). Milan’s at-large race went to Doug Norman over Marty Layden, 65 to 35 percent. The Town of Milan school board seat was won by Ted Amberger over Stephen Snyder, 66 to 34 percent.
Rachel Bladen Schuler was the only Democratic candidate to win a contested race in Switzerland County, a county known to lean further left than the rest of the southeast Indiana region. Schuler (18 percent) and two Republicans, Andy Haskell (22 percent) and Lisa Fisher (19 percent), won the six-way race for three positions on county council.
Josh South claimed re-election victory with 63 percent of the vote in the Switzerland County Commissioner District 1 showdown. He defeated Democratic challenger Steve Crabtree. In District 2, Republican Jerry Monjar will be a new county commissioner after handing Democrat Lane Armstrong, 52 to 48 percent.
Switzerland County’s school board had one contested race. Robert T. Sullivan defeated Carla Burt, 77 to 22 percent, for the Town of Vevay board seat.
There has been a steady stream of voters into and out of polling places in Lawrenceburg and Greendale. pic.twitter.com/eIa8E4weh6
— Eagle Country 99.3 (@eagle993) November 8, 2016