Otis Cox

Ottis Cox

ANDERSON – Former Indiana state auditor and longtime Madison County elected official Otis Cox, 79, died Monday.

Cox was elected as state auditor in 1982, defeating Republican incumbent Charles Loos.

He lost a close race for reelection to Republican Ann DeVore in 1986 by just 15,000 votes out of 1.5 million votes cast. DeVore grew up in Alexandria and graduated from Alexandria High School.

Cox was elected Madison County auditor in 1976 and won reelection in 1980. After being elected to the state office, he was replaced as county auditor by Sandy Huntzinger, who had served as his chief deputy.

After returning to Anderson following his four years as state auditor, Cox ran in the 1987 Democratic Party primary for mayor of Anderson.

His bid came up 94 votes short to incumbent J. Mark Lawler.

But his political career was far from over.

Cox was elected Madison County auditor in 1992 and was then elected as county commissioner for the Middle District in 1996 and 2000.

His daughter, Angie, said her father was a good honest man.

“We would butt heads at times, but two minutes later we were going to dinner together,” she said of her father.

Cox said her father never held a grudge no matter what happened politically.

“He was a caring individual when it came to family, friends and community,” she said. “He always cared about everything and anything about Madison County.”

Cox said her father was upset by the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

“He considered it to be the Holy Grail when it came to democracy,” she said. “He had tears in his eyes.”

Patty Mauck was hired by Otis Cox to work in the auditor’s office in 1977.

“He was a great boss that cared about his employees,” she said.

Mauck said several employees of the auditor’s office went to the state Democratic Party convention to campaign for Cox to secure the state auditor nomination.

“He was an easygoing guy,” she said.

Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 765-640-4863.

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Senior Reporter covering Anderson and Madison County government, politics and auto racing for The Herald Bulletin. Has been working as a journalist in central Indiana since 1977.