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Republicans sweep local statehouse seats

VOTING SUCCESS: State Rep. Kevin Mahan talks on the phone at Meshingomesia Golf and Social Club while waiting for voting results in the District 31 race to come in Tuesday evening.

By Clay Winowiecki

cwinowiecki@chronicle-tribune.com

and

Abigail Roberts

ctreport@indy.rr.com

A Republican sweep befell the Democrats in local statehouse races.

Incumbent State Auditor Tera Klutz (R) managed to hold off Joselyn Whitticker (D), while incumbent Kevin Mahan (R) beat out Lynn Johnson (D) for the District 31 seat. District 17's Andy Zay, District 18's David Alan Wolkins and District 32's Tony Cook all secured their senate seats as well. All vote numbers are unofficial. 

In the race for State Auditor, incumbent Tera Klutz (R) beat out Joselyn Whitticker (D) with 59 percent of the vote. Whitticker managed 38 percent. 

Klutz was appointed to her position by Gov. Eric Holcomb in January 2017 and in her tenure has focused heavily on improving transparency and internal controls in both state and local government.

Before taking on the role of State Auditor, Klutz was the Allen County Auditor in Fort Wayne. She is the first certified public accountant to hold the role of Indiana State Auditor. 

Whitticker, who is a former Marion City Council member, was also running her first state-wide campaign. 

She was running on promises to bring accountability to the State Auditor's office as well as increased transparancy and accessibility to financial information. 

"I ran a clean, decent campaign," Whitticker said. "I didn't get into the muck (because) I think people are tired of that."

"I did an outstanding job of keeping it clean and talking about policy," she added.

Whitticker said she was proud to receive over half a million votes.

Mahan beat out Johnson for District 31 with 68 percent of the vote. Johnson managed to garner 32 percent. 

"(Mahan) has not done anything for Grant County," Johnson said. "He's not even sponsored any bills that would improve our roads."

"Our middle class is poor, our government is poor, (Grant County) is poor and he doesn't even address the issues with Grant County," she added.

Even though Johnson lost, she said she is proud of the Democrats who came out to vote and she is proud of her message.

Disagreeing on almost every topic with their Democrat opponents, Republican candidates in Districts 17, 18 and 23 dominated the polls in this year’s state Senate representative races.

Republican incumbents Zay, Wolkins and Cook, sealed their 2018-20’s Senate seats.

Zay passed Democratic candidate Gary Snyder by 16,581 votes, taking 73 percent of the total ballots. Over 63 percent of Grant County voters voted for Zay with a total of 6,308 votes.

“Marion is a very diverse community,” Snyder said. “The rest of the district is not, it is unfortunate that the racist comments by my opponent were not heeded and largely ignored ... When you spend [thousands of dollars] it’s a little easier than when you’re doing it grassroots.”

Wolkins, District 18’s Republican incumbent, overwhelmingly ruled the ballots, carrying 67 percent of votes. In Grant County, Wolkins won by 77.5 percent, a total of 1,078 votes went to Wolkins and 313 to Moore.

“Well I’ve been thinking of trying to sound humble but also trying to make a point,” Wolkins said. “I feel good. I am very pleased that voters of District 18 wanted to vote for us ... I’m going to do the best I can for them again.”

Wolkins referred to opponent Moore as a Bernie Sanders, socialist, progressive, whose message did not resonate or fit with District 18.

“We’ve got a red toxic tide sweeping in,” Moore said. “It is here, where we live ... Indiana is Indiana, I just hope they wake up before it is too late ... I think this was a crucial year ... the blame will fall where it will fall.”

In District 32, incumbent Tony Cook’s challenger Amie Neiling secured 30 percent of Indiana citizens ballots. Cook won with 70 percent of the vote. Within Grant County, 72.04 percent of voters chose Cook, with a total of 3,195 ballots.

Democrats across the board carried campaigns focused on increased labor wages, the legalization of marijuana, the passing of Indiana’s first hate crime bill and increased funding for public schools.

Republican candidates held to their beliefs on the need for more school funding channeled to private institutions, the continuations of bills and reforms already in place and support for Trump’s policies.