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Nominations set for fall races

Voter turnout was up yesterday (Tuesday) for the Primary election in Harrison County as residents picked nominees for sheriff for both parties and settled multiple contested races on the Republican side, where one incumbent was defeated.
The Republican Primary race for sheriff was a tight one, as most expected, with Nick Smith edging Steve Priest 2,848 votes to 2,672 votes.
‘Steve is a very good competitor; that was a close race,’ Smith said last night at the Government Center in Corydon after the final results rolled in just before 8. ‘I think there’s a lot of great people he had that supported him … We ran a clean, positive race, and I think that shows what our county is about and I’m very happy to be a part of it and I look forward to November to be the next sheriff to do what we have to do the right way for the community.’
Harrison County Republican Party Chair Scott Fluhr described the Primary as the most expensive in the county’s history.
Smith’s opponent this fall will be Brad Shepherd, who won the Democrat primary convincingly with 1,417 votes to 474 for Jim Slucher.
‘I appreciate all the support I received, and I look forward to November,’ Shepherd said.
An incumbent was ousted in the GOP District 3 Commissioner’s race, with Jim Klinstiver losing to Jim Heitkemper, who previously served as both a commissioner and county councilman, 2,700 votes to 2,227.
‘I think that’s a respectable result, between two respectable men,’ Heitkemper said.
He said he’ll start to get up to speed by attending the commissioners’ meetings.
In the fall, Heitkemper will face another former commissioner, Terry Miller, who was unopposed on the Democrat ticket.
The incumbents fared well in the Republican county council races, with Kyle S. Nix, who ran as a Democrat four years ago, handling Phil Smith in District 1 in a rematch of the General Election four years ago. Nix totaled 798 votes to 377 for Smith.
The Democrats did not have a candidate in District 1.
‘The support I received is humbling and very much appreciated,’ Nix said. ‘Thank you to all voters who still believed in me for doing this job. I look forward to serving you in the future for four more years.’
In District 3, Holli Castetter totaled 920 votes to 516 for challenger Tony Meyers. She will face former commissioner Carl (Buck) Mathes, who was unopposed on the Democrat side, in the fall.
The District 4 GOP race had three competitors (incumbent Sam Day did not seek re-election after one term) with Brad Wiseman coming out on top with 630 votes, ahead of Taylor Johnson’s 461 and David W. Wallace with 432.
‘First, I want to thank my family, wife, Kim, son Alex, daughter-in-law, Leslie; they were big supporters,’ Wiseman said. ‘I want to thank Taylor and David for running a clean race. Several people told me that we were, by far, the cleanest race in the county. And you know, I think that’s important. Stay focused on what you believe in, tell the people what you’re about and let them make the decision.’
The other county council district race saw two unopposed candidates on each ballot. Democrat Frederick (Fred) Naegele will face Republican Ross Schulz in November.
The Republican Party had a contested primary for assessor, with incumbent Lorena (Rena) Stepro, who last election ran as a Democrat, coming out on top 3,110 votes to 2,078 for Barbara Best.
‘I’m just glad to have the opportunity to go forward and continue to be, hopefully, Harrison County’s assessor again,’ Stepro said.
There was no Democrat candidate in yesterday’s Primary.
There was one contested township trustee race; that was in Blue River, where the incumbent, Michael Beyerle, was challenged by Jim Minter.
Beyerle received 178 votes to Minter’s 136. There was no Democrat on the ballot for the position.
On the Democrat ticket, Harrison Township voters selected the three candidates to advance to the General Election in the township advisory board race.
Steve Haggard was the top vote-getter, with 380, followed by Sue King (369 votes) and Chuck Schroeder (329 votes). Benjamin K. Mathes, who is completing the term of his late grandmother, Geneva Sams, finished with 316 votes.
Haggard, King and Schroeder will be joined on the ballot in November by incumbent Lester K. Rhoads, who was the lone Republican on the ballot for the position; he received 1,542 votes.
Moving to state races, the only contested race in Harrison County involved just two precincts, North Blue River and South Blue River, for the District 73 state representative seat. Incumbent Steve Davisson, R-Salem, who was first elected in 2010, defeated his opponent, Buford L. DeWitt, a Republican from Paoli, 228 votes to 54.
District results gave Davisson the advantage 4,674 votes to DeWitt’s 1,698.
Republican Trey Hollingsworth, of Jeffersonville, who is completing his first term as the District 9 Congressional representative, easily won Harrison County. He received 4,130 votes to opponent James Dean Alspach’s 978.
For the district, with 85 percent of the precincts counted, Hollingsworth was declared the winner by Politico. He received 45,643 votes to Alspach’s 13,015 votes.
Hollingsworth will face Democrat Liz Watson, of Bloomington, in November. She won a three-way race in Harrison County with 1,261 votes compared to opponents Dan Canon of New Albany (613 votes) and Rob Chatlos of Bloomington (91 votes).
Watson carried the entire district, with 83 percent of precincts reported by Politico, equating to 24,743 votes. Canon had 11,502 votes followed by Chatlos with 1,090.
Locally, the U.S. Senate race was won by Mike Braun in a three-way race with Luke Messer and Todd Rokita. In Harrison County, Braun had 2,220 votes, Messer 1,602 and Rokita 1,102.
The results, with 75 percent of the votes in, were the same statewide, according to Politico. Braun had 184,446 votes followed by Messer’s 133,652 and Rokita’s 131,198.
Braun will face incumbent Democrat Joe Donnelly, who received 1,803 votes in Harrison County. Politico did not have the statewide number of votes for Donnelly posted as of press time last night.
In Harrison County, voter turnout was up when compared to the 2014 Primary.
This year, 7,658 (or about 27 percent of registered voters) took to the polls compared to 17 percent in 2018. In 2010 and 2002, voter turnout surpassed 30 percent.
Harrison County Clerk Sherry Brown said the day went fairly smooth, with only a couple of machine issues at separate locations.
One voter, Pam Johnson (mother of District 4 county council candidate Taylor Johnson) had to cast a provisional ballot after the polling books had her labeled as deceased since 2017.
Brown also said there were just six provisional ballots cast during yesterday’s voting. Those voters have until noon on Friday, May 18, to provide proper documentation in order for their ballot to be counted.
Both the Republican and Democrat parties have until noon on June 30 to fill any vacancies for the Nov. 6 General Election.
The General Election also will include school board races. The first day someone can file a petition to be a school board candidate is July 25. The deadline to file is noon on Aug. 24.
Anyone wishing to vote in November who was not registered for yesterday’s Primary or who had not changed their address has until the end of the day on Oct. 9 to do so.

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