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Democrat regains White House; incumbents returned at state levels

Not since Lyndon Johnson in 1964 has a Democratic Presidential candidate carried Indiana in an election, but this year Barack Obama managed to pull it off in a tight race that was too close to call until all the precincts had been reported early this morning (Wednesday). Obama, the Democrat candidate, ended up winning by less than 25,000 votes.
Although Obama may have won the state, McCain, the Republican nominee, faired far better in Harrison County, winning by an 18-point margin. The final numbers for the county were 7,271 votes for Obama and 10,529 votes for McCain. Bob Barr, a Libertarian, claimed 233 votes, and the other 102 votes were made up of various write-in candidates.
McCain won Crawford County as well, but by a slimmer margin of only 3 points with 2,286 votes going to Obama and 2,393 votes going to McCain. Barr had 65 votes in Crawford while write-in candidates accounted for 31 of the votes.
Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels coasted to re-election, easily defeating Democratic challenger Jill Long Thompson, who had Crawford Countian Dennie Oxley II as her running mate.
Daniels was leading by some 20 percentage points with 75 percent of the state’s precincts reporting.
Daniels and Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman lost Oxley’s home county by 1,000 votes, 2,869 to 1,869, but he easily won next-door Harrison County. He received 10,261 votes to 7,428 votes with all 36 precincts reporting despite Thompson making several campaign stops in the area. Libertarian Andy Horning had 338 votes.
U.S. Ninth District Congressional
Incumbent Democrat Baron Hill cruised to victory in the U.S. Ninth District House of Representatives race, again defeating Republican Mike Sodrel and Libertarian D. Eric Schansberg.
Hill won with 58 percent of the vote to Sodrel’s 40 and Schansberg’s 4.
Hill was first elected to the seat in 1998 when 34-year incumbent Democrat Lee Hamilton chose not to seek re-election. After holding the seat for three terms, he was defeated by Sodrel in 2004. Hill, however, regained the seat in 2006 in a third match-up with Sodrel that also included Schansberg.
With all 36 precincts in Harrison County reporting, Hill led Sodrel in the vote tally 10,143 to 7,272; Schansberg garnered 710 votes.
In Crawford County, Hill received 2,980 votes to Sodrel’s 1,606 and Schansberg’s 168.
Attorney General
Another person with roots in Southern Indiana will take over as Indiana’s attorney general. Republican Greg Zoeller will succeed Steve Carter, of the GOP party who decided not to seek a third term.
In Harrison County, Zoeller received 9,430 votes; his opponent, Democrat Linda Pence, received 7,828 votes. Zoeller has served the past eight years as Carter’s chief deputy.
Statewide totals were unavailable last night.
Superintendent of Public Instruction
Republican Tony Bennett will succeed Dr. Suellen K. Reed as the state’s next Superintendent of Public Instruction, after she decided not to seek another term. Reed, also a Republican, has served 16 years in that position.
In Harrison County, Bennett received 9,171 votes, while his opponent, Democrat Richard D. Wood, had 7,745 votes. Bennett currently is the superintendent for Greater Clark County Schools.
Statewide totals were not available at press time.
State Representative, District 70
Paul Robertson, the Democrat incumbent in the Indiana State Representative District 70, won the seat he’s held for some 30 years handily over Republican challenger Tim Hunt. District 70 covers the majority of Harrison County and parts of Clark and Floyd counties.
‘I feel very good about Harrison County,’ Robertson said, as he watched poll numbers come in at the Harrison County Court House last night.
Robertson gives a lot of credit to Hunt, someone he calls ‘a worthy opponent.’
‘Anyone that met Tim Hunt liked him,’ he said. ‘We ran a positive campaign.’
The two made an agreement before the campaign began that they would be respectful of each other and to check with the other person if the campaign turned negative.
‘Politics sometimes gets a very bad name,’ he said. ‘All races in Harrison County should be praised for running the strong, positive campaigns we ran.’
Robertson said, after the election, it will be time to reorganize in Indianapolis under the second term of Gov. Daniels, who Robertson said ran a ‘flawless’ campaign. As for what he says he’ll be working on, his priorities remain fair and lasting property tax relief and full funding of all-day kindergarten.
‘The Democrats will be reaching across the aisle to the governor, the Republicans, to make the best policies for Indiana,’ he said. ‘The election is over; politics is over. The people have elected us to govern and that’s what we’ll do.’
Robertson’s final numbers in Harrison County were 10,984 votes and total District 70 votes, 18,843. Hunt had 6,389 votes in Harrison County and 13,501 votes total.
State Representative, District 73
In the race for State Represent-ative, District 73, Dennie Oxley I came out swinging in Crawford County, winning five of the first six precincts reporting, and never looked back. He also won the lone precinct (North Blue River) of the district in Harrison County.
At the end of the evening, Oxley claimed 3,275 votes in Crawford County, which was more votes than any other candidate, including presidential, gubernatorial and congressional candidates, leaving Davisson far behind with 1,435 votes.
District-wide, Oxley was able to hold on to the lead he developed in his home county and went on to victory with 14,391 votes leaving Davisson with 10,320 votes.
Oxley stepped in to run for the House seat after his son, Dennie Oxley II, left the seat open when he was chosen as Jill Long Thompson’s running mate in the gubernatorial race. The younger Oxley held the District 73 seat for five terms.