Election 2022: Winners, long lines and other takeaways
As many local takeaways as I can muster late night from Tuesday’s midterm election. Plus, Purdue, Ascension break ground on 'micro-hospital,' promise more on the way
Here are as many local takeaways as I can muster late night from Tuesday’s midterm election.
West Lafayette: Outside a vote center Tuesday morning, Angie Janes figured that the election would tell more about the direction people wanted to take with the West Lafayette school board than a more crowded race did two years ago.
While the issues were similar – boiled down: a referendum of sorts over whether the current school board overseeing a district recently ranked No. 8 in the nation was doing fine or needed to go – the fields were considerably different.
In 2020, 15 candidates vied for four at-large seats. In 2022, six candidates – with three definitely calling out the current board, two incumbents seeking re-election and another who said West Side should be careful about messing up a good thing with the district’s schools – were after three at-large seats. Janes’ point: The smaller field made the choices more distinct.
The result was a mixed bag after a particularly rugged and pointed campaign: Two running for change in the nonpartisan race – Dacia Mumford and Laurence Wang – and the current school board president, Rachel Witt, won four-year terms Tuesday. Out were Karen Springer – a 24-year school board member who’d been given the Outstanding Boardmanship Award by the Indiana School Boards Association several weeks ago – George Lyle and Janes.
“I am grateful for the community’s support and look forward to joining the school board,” Mumford, who was the top vote getter, said Tuesday night. “I will continue to work hard to keep the community informed.”
The Tippe Citizens DOE slate in LSC and TSC: One of four candidates backed by a group called Tippe Citizens DOE (stands for: Devolution of Education) in Lafayette and Tippecanoe school board races won a seat Tuesday.
Chuck Hockema is a retired Lafayette resident who’d visited public meetings this year to ask school board members to sign pledges against teaching critical race theory, advocating in any way for what he called “woke” curriculum or including gender-neutral restrooms in school renovations. Hockema beat incumbent Steve Bultinck in LSC’s District 7. He received 59% of the vote.
Three other Tippe Citizens DOE candidates lost: Matthew Morris fell to LSC school board president Brent Clemenz in District 3, a race that drew the attention, endorsement and campaign case from Lafayette Mayor Tony Roswarski; Sara Bagsby lost to William Sondgerath for TSC’s District 3 seat; and Diane Kelley lost to Holly Keckler in a three-way race that included Carl Krieger.
Also winning in LSC: Bob Stwalley ran unopposed in District 2. No candidate appeared on the District 6 ballot, after board member Allison McKay was pulled for not collecting enough valid signatures from registered voters in her district. The LSC school board will choose a board member from that district. McKay is expected to go for that seat, again.
Also winning in TSC: Incumbent Josh Loggins beat Holden Mugford in District 2.
Indiana Senate District 23: West Lafayette Republican Spencer Deery, a part of Purdue President Mitch Daniels’ staff, won handily over David Sanders, a Democratic West Lafayette City Council member, for an open seat in a sprawling district.
“A year ago, I was an everyday person, a policy wonk working in the background, and I want to hang onto that as much as I can,” Deery said. “I do think that it sends a message that everyday people who are qualified can step out there and serve.”
Sanders, a Purdue professor, spent months going door-to-door in the counties away from West Lafayette.
“I was hoping to do better in the rural counties,” Sanders said. “I felt like I brought joy and hope to lots of people that I met door-to-door. People seemed to be just so pleased to meet a candidate that actually cares to stop by. But that didn’t seem to carry over in the numbers in the rural areas.”
Indiana House District 27: State Rep. Sheila Klinker, a Lafayette Democrat, won her 21st two-year term in House District 27.
“Still here,” Klinker said, “unless you’ve heard otherwise.”
Lafayette Republican Jim Hass, a retired truck driver, pulled 40% of the vote in his second consecutive run against Klinker.
“I don’t know if I’ll be alive when Sheila’s ready to go,” Hass said Tuesday night. “There are other masochists out there who decided that I deserved the honors of running against her. See what it got me?”
Indiana House District 26: State Rep. Chris Campbell, a frequent critic of Republican supermajority at the Statehouse, said Tuesday that redistricting ahead of the 2022 election made her district so blue that winning almost seemed like a given.
“You cram as many Democrats into one district as possible, and this is going to happen,” Campbell said. “I take it as a vote of confidence. I want to continue to be represent their voice and what they value, at a time when so many voices aren’t being represented and Republicans feel they can do what they want.”
Campbell took nearly 60% of the vote in a race against Republican Fred Duttlinger, who oversees Purdue’s civics literacy program. Duttlinger, who entered the race after the May primary, said every district is winnable. “I’m going to miss going door-to-door and meeting people and hearing their stories,” Duttlinger said. “As tough as this is, I’ll take that with me as a great thing.”
Indiana House District 41: Republican Mark Genda, a funeral home owner in Frankfort, took 77% of the vote against Lebanon resident Greg Woods.
Other districts: Four of the seven Indiana House and Indiana Senate seats with districts that include Tippecanoe County were contested. Incumbents running uncontested who won re-election: Sen. Ron Alting, R-Lafayette, District 22; Rep. Sharon Negele, R-Attica, District 13; and Rep. Heath VanNatter, R-Kokomo, District 38.
Sheriff: Democrat Bob Goldsmith won 59% of the vote in his re-election bid against Jason Huber, executive director of Tippecanoe County Community Corrections. Goldsmith said he chalked it up to voters being familiar with how he’s run the sheriff’s office over the past four years.
“I think we’ve done a good job – not a perfect job, but a good job,” Goldsmith said. “Now, I have to go back out and prove it again for the next four years.”
Huber said he planned to continue to work to improve Community Corrections.
“We felt like we ran a positive campaign and that our message resonated with a lot of voters,” Huber said. “But voters wanted to stay the course, and you have to respect the process and the victory and wish him the best over the next four years.”
County commissioner: Tracy Brown, a Republican county commissioner, won a third term on a message of continued work on economic development, plans to bring a wastewater solution to the northeast portion of the county and dealing with the pressures for housing in the county. James Werner, a Democrat who works in the county assessor’s office, receive 42% of the vote. Werner said he felt he’d already won, because his main objective – getting commissioners to pay attention to IT solutions the assessor’s office had offered to the county – was getting traction. “We got more done in the past six months than any other time,” Werner said. Brown said Tuesday that he planned to tap Werner, among others, for what he called a county government optimization team.
County council: Four incumbents won their races with at least 64% of the vote, including Democrats Ben Murray and Lisa Dullum and Republicans Jody Hamilton and Kathy Vernon.
Wabash Township: Angel Valentin, a Democrat, was appointed trustee after former Trustee Jennifer Teising was convicted in January on theft charges tied to accusations that she didn’t reside in the township. On Tuesday, Valentin took 64% of the vote to beat Republican Eric Hoppenjans to start a full, four-year term. Valentin said the goal would be to continue rebuilding the Wabash Township Fire Department. “I think this gives us the credibility about the work we’ve spoken about doing,” Valentin said. “It demonstrates where our constituents are, so we’re going to make sure that we’re delivering for them.”
Fairfield Township: Monica Casanova, elected Tuesday as township trustee, said she doesn’t consider this a fresh start for the township, after the past four years ended with the resignation of former Trustee Taletha Coles in October. Coles was indicted last week on dozens of counts of theft, perjury and fraud tied to her performance as trustee. “It’s a rebuild,” Casanova said. “And then, I guess, starting over. But I can’t forget the painful lessons. We’ve got to be transparent, in ways the last trustee wasn’t. It’s going to be a big job.” Casanova, a Democrat, beat Republican April O’Brien with 52% of the vote. Democratic precinct officials in Fairfield Township on Saturday are expected to name a trustee to replace Coles through the end of 2022.
IN STATE AND CONGRESSIONAL RACES
Secretary of State: From the Associated Press: “GOP’s Morales wins Indiana election office that ousted him”
U.S. Senate: Also via the Associated Press: “Republican Sen. Todd Young wins 2nd term”
U.S. House, 4th District: Rep. Jim Baird, a Greencastle Republican, won a third term with 70% of the vote over Democrat Roger Day, according to the Indiana Election Division counts Tuesday night.
TURNOUT IN TIPPECANOE COUNTY
The unofficial vote total was 39,712 in Tippecanoe County. That was 39.5% of 100,383 registered voters. That was more than during three of the past four midterm elections:
County Clerk Julie Roush said the election office would look into reasons for long lines at several vote centers Tuesday. She said she’d heard that some voters were taking up to 10 minutes to cast a ballot, at times looking for help with MicroVote, push-button machines that debuted during the May primary. Roush also said the county would look into ways poll workers could be more efficient as they set up machines and explain how they work for voters.
“We know there was going to be a learning curve,” Roush said.
FOR TIPPECANOE COUNTY RESULTS
Here’s a copy of the results in Tippecanoe County. Note: In General Assembly races and other districts that cross county lines, the numbers reflect only Tippecanoe County results. The election totals are expected to be certified in 10 days.
PURDUE, ASCENSION BREAK GROUND ON MICRO-HOSPITAL, PROMISE MORE COMING
Ceremonial dirt barely turned on Ascension St. Vincent’s neighborhood hospital in Purdue’s Discovery Park District, hospital officials were promising bigger facilities to come.
And Purdue President Mitch Daniels hinted that the university was in talks about other, complementary health care interests tied to what Purdue and Ascension were calling a micro-hospital.
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial