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November 8, 2018 • Headline News
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Highest voter turnout ever in county

WANDA ENGLISH
BURNETT PHOTOS

David Tebbing left, and Ed Armbrecht, right, shake hands after Tebbing unseated Armbrecht on the county council. Armbrecht had served for 12 years.

Jared D. Rogers
ASSISTANT EDITOR

Citizens of Ripley County attended the polls in numbers that indicate the highest known turnout in recent history on Tuesday, November 6 for the midterm elections. 46.8% of registered voters, or 9,638 of 20,593, participated in what was also one of the largest midterm turnouts at the national level.

Many stories were shared through the day and into the evening of busy precincts throughout the county, where voting hours extended passed planned deadlines. The turnout was so high, in fact, that the county used up every single paper ballot before the 6:00 p.m. closing time. This meant every electronic polling machine in the county was distributed and in use to manage the crowds. Ripley County Clerk, Ginger Bradford, reported to the Versailles Republican that the county orders paper ballots in accordance to turnout of recent elections. While Bradford said she was excited that so many people voted, she did note it was an exceptionally busy day for her and her election crew.

For comparison, the 2014 midterms saw 35% of registered Ripley County citizens voting. In the 2016 presidential election, that number rose to 37%, still 9% shy of Tuesday night’s turnout.

Around 7:30 p.m., the first of the precincts began reporting from Washington and Jackson Townships. The last to report, coming from the northern parts of the county, arrived around 9:30 p.m.

Of the 9,638 citizens voting, 50.5% voted straight ticket, a statistic that played into the theme of the night: A Republican sweep at the county level and an overall win for the party at the state level. Nearly 80% of those straight ticket voters checked off the red party’s box near the top of their ballots.

In locally contested races, two seats long held by Democrats were flipped. Republican candidate for District 4 County Council, David Tebbing, won 1,643 of the total 2,413 votes cast in his race to unseat Edward Armbrecht, who had retained his position for 12 years prior.

Tebbing reported excitement for his victory, and reiterated that as a business owner, he has developed his attention to detail, especially in finances, over the years. Armbrecht reported that he has enjoyed his stint on the council, a position in which he is leaving aR long history of experience behind, as he spent his career working with the state board of accounts. “It’ll be okay,” he summed up to the Versailles Republican. Incumbent Edward Gindling, Democratic trustee of Adams Township, was also unseated by Republican Randall Ashcroft at a margin of 65% to 35%.

For the U.S. Senate, Ripley County voters gave a nod to newcomer Mike Braun with 72.7% of their votes. Greg Pence, older brother of Vice President Mike Pence, won the county’s support for 6th District U.S. House with 72.8% of votes. Also at the state level, Connie Lawson was voted as Secretary of State, Tera Klutz as Auditor of State, and Kelly Mitchell as Treasurer of State. Clyde Perfect, Jr., won his unopposed 43rd District State Senate race, and Randy Frye defeated his opponent by accruing 80% of the Ripley County vote to retain his seat as District 67 State Representative. For District 55 State Representative, Cindy Meyer Ziemke pulled in three-quarters of the vote towards her victory.

State Rep. Frye was glad to see the large voter turnout in his district, and reported that he appreciated the support he was shown in the polls. He also congratulated all candidates who made the effort to run for public office. “Running for office is extremely difficult,” he stated. “I appreciate those who are willing to go out.”

Frye was hopeful that Indiana Republicans will maintain a super majority in the House, meaning that they can hold session no matter if the other party attends or not. He was also excited to see Indiana now being represented by two Republicans at the national level. He noted that a number of bills over the years passed by Indiana state legislators had been overturned by the Supreme Court. Since the Senate confirms Supreme Court judges nominated by the President of the United States, it is possible that more conservative judges who will rule in favor of Indiana’s conservative bills could be seated.
Frye was also pleased to see Public Question 1 approved. Indiana legislators will now pass an “honestly balanced budget,” he reported, something that in his view will help the economy continue to thrive.

At the county level, Mark Horstman will be moving into the District 1 County Commissioner role after having served on the Ripley County Council. He defeated Jay Gayheart by winning 71.3% of the vote. “I gained confidence by being on the council,” Horstman said. He believes his experience in the council’s finances will prove helpful as he moves into his new position. He also reported that he hopes to see a closer relationship form between the council and the commissioners, a divide he believes he can help bridge.

For District 3 County Council, Steve Gloyd defeated Rachael Melton-Curl by winning 75% of the vote in his race.

In uncontested races, Richard Hertel will remain prosecuting attorney, Amy Copeland as auditor, Jeffery Cumberworth as sheriff, Jeffery French as surveyor, Shawna Bushhorn as assessor, Ron Decker as District 1 County Council, Rob Seig as District 2 County Council, Kenneth Copeland as Brown trustee, Brenda Warren as Center trustee, Paul Hardy as Delaware trustee, William Mike Kissell as Franklin trustee, Annette Pindell as Jackson trustee, Toni Halcomb as Johnson trustee, Michael Weiler as Laughery trustee, Cynthia Melton as Otter Creek trustee, Phillip Morgan as Shelby trustee, and Jeffery Poole as Washington trustee.

As the night was a bull for Indiana Republicans, the Versailles Republican asked State Representative Randy Frye about his thoughts regarding messages being sent by national political leaders that appear to be discriminating and marginalizing towards minority citizens. “Indiana is not a microcosm of Washington,” Frye said. He noted that in the Indiana state legislature, 64% of the 224 bills passed on to the governor had unanimous support from both parties. “We work together,” he continued, adding that in his time as representative, he has never co-authored a bill that wasn’t also signed by a Democratic Party representative. Finally, he shared that while national legislators are often exempt from the bills they pass, such as those on healthcare, for example, Indiana state legislators are not. Frye assured, “We live under the laws we pass.”

As both Ripley County and Indiana continue to paint the map red for the next few years, Frye said the main goals of state Republicans are to keep taxes low, live within our means with an honestly balanced budget, and continue to build and improve infrastructure
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Whether citizens agree or disagree with those causes, they are reminded and encouraged to make their voice heard in the next elections slated for 2020.


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