Today, Rush County residents will join citizens across Indiana and the country heading to the polls to vote for our next leaders. This year, voters will make their choices in several important races including: President of the United States, U.S. Senator, Governor, U.S. Representative District 6 and State Representative District 54 and 55.
Four year’s ago, Indiana changed it’s presidential colors from red to blue and awarded its electoral votes to Barack Obama, the first time since 1964 that a Democrat took Indiana’s presidential vote. Recent polls predict Indiana turning red again this year when President Barack Obama faces Republican challenger Mitt Romney and Libertarian Gary Johnson on Tuesday.
Indiana has its fair share of split ticket voters leaving many results in question. In what has been a traditionally Republican voting state, crossing party lines to vote for another candidate isn’t something Hoosier’s are shy about. One race that is already predicted to be impacted by split ticket voting is the race between Richard E. Mourdock, R, Joe Donnelly, D, and Andrew “Andy” Horning, L, for the U.S. Senate.
Indiana’s senate race garnered national media attention after Brian Howey reported that Indiana Republicans remain in danger of losing a Senate seat, as nominee Richard Mourdock trailed Democrat Joe Donnelly 40 to 38 percent in the Howey/DePauw Indiana Battleground Poll. The bipartisan poll was conducted by Republican Christine Matthews of Bellwether Research and Democrat Fred Yang of Garin-Hart-Yang Research Group and was done with DePauw University’s Pulliam Center for Contemporary Media and Brian Howey, publisher of Howey Politics Indiana.
When a political contest becomes a “toss-up” like the Indiana Senate race, it’s anyone’s game to win. There may also be more at stake than the senate seat. The outcome of the Donnelly, Mourdock and Horning race is among a few challenges that could determine who holds the Senate majority. The poll also raised eyebrows with Mourdock’s favorable/unfavorable at 26/32 percent, compared to 24/21 percent for Donnelly.
The Senate race between Donnelly, Mourdock and Horning was already on par to be the most costly in state history. Mourdock’s comments during the debate that pregnancy resulting from rape is something “God intended” had both camps putting the ad spending pedal to the metal virtually ensuring new spending records for this seat.
Mike Pence’s bid for Governor against Democrat John Gregg and Libertarian Rupert Boneham is also leaning Republican according to polls, but the numbers have continued to tighten.
Pence vacating the U.S. Representative ticket left that seat open to a race between Luke Messer, R, Bradley T. Bookout, D, and Rex Bell, L.
Jean Leising, R, is running for re-election unopposed as State Senator and Thomas E (Tom) Saunders, R, is facing Jeremiah Morrell, L, in State Representative Dist 54.
With lines redrawn since the last election, a new district has been created and the race is on between candidates Cindy Meyer Ziemke, R, and David (Dave) Moeller, D, for State Representative Dist. 55.
Other challenges include: Greg Zoeller, R, and Kay Fleming, D, for Attorney General; and Tony Bennett, R, and Glenda Ritz, D, for Superintendent of Public Instruction.
Facing each other in local races are John J. Todd, R, and Christy Mahan Hall, D, for Rush County Coroner. Also running for the same Rush County School Board seat in District 4 are Jane Busald Carter and Tammy Jackman. Candidates running unopposed in Rush County are: David Edwin Northam, R, Judge of the Circuit Court; Debbie Richardson, R, Clerk of the Circuit Court; Mary Ann Beard, R, County Auditor; Cindy Humphrey, R, County Treasurer; Marvin L. Rees, R, County Surveyor; Bruce W. Levi, R, County Commissioner-Middle District; Mark Bacon, R, County Commissioner-Southern District; and three County Council - At Large seats with Marvin Hedrick, Warren L. Norris and Charles Smith, all Republicans.
Jeff Slaton, Rush County School Board-Dist 3; Steve Ross Sickbert, Rush County School Board-Dist 6; and Ronald Lee Lienemann, Rush County School Board-Dist 7 are unopposed.
Also on ballots in Ripley 9 and 10 are Charles A Beard School Board candidates Lanny Keith Ferrell, Steven Kent Ferrell and Michelle S. White in Charles A Beard School Board-Greensboro Twp; Don A. Scheumann and Timothy R. Wehr, Charles A Beard School Board-Ripley Twp; and Leah J. Kopp and Gerald W Leonard in Charles A Beard School Board-Wayne Twp.
Indiana is seeing a growing number of Libertarian candidates on November ballots. The Libertarian Party was granted automatic ballot access in 1994, after its candidate for Secretary of State hit another mile-marker set by state election laws, when he captured two percent of the vote. The party’s share of the vote has inched up in every election since.
One thing all parties and candidates seem to agree on is the importance of voting this Election Day, Nov. 6. Polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. If you have any questions, contact the Clerk’s office at 932-2086.
Melissa Conrad, 932-2222 x 107