By Stuart Hirsch
The Herald Bulletin
ANDERSON, Ind. —
Voters chose to maintain the status quo on the Madison County Board of Commissioners, returning North District Republican incumbent John Richwine and Middle District Democratic incumbent Jeff Hardin to office.
Richwine defeated Democrat William “Tom” McCarty 26,446 votes to 21,285; while Hardin staved off his challenger, Republican Steve Sumner, 26,772 votes to 23,676.
Richwine, who said he’s notoriously bad at predicting election outcomes, spent Election Day visiting polling sites around the county.
“It’s always a fun day,” he said.
Few voters were talking about issues as the went to the polls, but most he encountered were pleasant, he said. “I didn’t hear anything negative all day.”
Hardin said he felt good about the campaign but not overconfident. He said his experience as a longtime public official likely was a key factor in the voting.
After the voting results became clear, Richwine said he looked forward to getting back to work on the county’s business.
The loss of Mike Gaskill and Mike Phipps, who were defeated in Tuesday’s election, on the county council means a new Democratic majority will take control of the fiscal body in January. That is sure to change the political dynamic that has created the difficult relations between the county’s commissioners and council for much of this year.
Commissioner Steffanie Owens, R-South District, said she had never seen an anti-candidate campaign in Madison County. While she didn’t like what it represented in terms of policies, she appreciated the exercise of free speech.
The first thing she wants to do is take down the political campaign signs, because she is “tired of looking at them.”
What Owens said she mostly felt on Tuesday was a sense of pride.
As a politician, “I don’t look at this as my day, it America’s day,” she said. “There are no guards at the doors. You can walk free and walk out free. It’s a beautiful thing.”
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