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The Journal Gazette

Sunday, November 10, 2019 1:00 am

Both parties touting Election Day success

NIKI KELLY and BRIAN FRANCISCO | The Journal Gazette

It's all about the spin, and both Republicans and Democrats gave it a whirl following Tuesday's general election. 

The Indiana Republican Party said it set a record in this year's municipal elections, ending the 2019 cycle with 70 Republican mayors throughout Indiana. This involved flipping 19 mayoral offices, including those in traditional Democratic strongholds Kokomo, Muncie, Logansport and Michigan City.

Republicans now hold 23 more mayoral offices than Democrats, another record.

“It was a historic night for Republicans throughout Indiana as voters in city after city elected Republican mayors,” Indiana GOP Chairman Kyle Hupfer said. “Never in the history of Indiana have Republicans held this many mayoral offices or had this wide a margin over Democrats.”

The Indiana Republican Party said it invested significant resources in races throughout the state. 

One of those, of course, was not Fort Wayne where incumbent Democratic Mayor Tom Henry was re-elected by a comfortable margin. 

Democrats, meanwhile, said they also made history. Highlights include electing the first African American mayor in Elkhart; a record number of Hoosier Democratic female mayors; winning City Council seats for the first time in Hamilton County; and obtaining a majority on the council in Vice President Mike Pence's hometown of Columbus. 

Democrats retained a council majority and mayor in Indianapolis and picked up two at-large City Council seats in Fort Wayne. 

“We elected mothers. We elected Young Dems. We elected union members. We won in the suburbs and in rural cities,” Indiana Democratic Party Chairman John Zody said. “How? Because of you. It was the time you committed to knocking doors or the couple of bucks you chipped in when we asked (and asked). You powered the Indiana Democratic Party to victory last night.”

Soft support

A poll shows most adults in Indiana approve of President Donald Trump but that many in his own political party are open to voting for one of his potential rivals next year.

The Old National Bank/Ball State University 2019 Hoosier Survey found that 52% of Hoosiers approve of the job Trump is doing and 40% disapprove, Ball State said Monday. The telephone survey of 600 adults was conducted from Oct. 8 through 28 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 5.2 percentage points.

“These survey results show that, despite the recent impeachment inquiry, the President's approval among Hoosiers continues to hold steady,” Chad Kinsella, a political science professor and survey analyst at Ball State's Bowen Center for Public Affairs, said in a news release. “The survey indicates that Trump's approval is essentially unchanged from last year's Hoosier Survey.”

Kinsella said Trump's approval is 86% among Republicans in Indiana, 46% among independents and 11% among Democrats.

But on Thursday, Ball State released poll results indicating a quarter of Indiana Republicans are considering voting for a Democratic presidential candidate. The survey found that 25% of Republicans said there is a “good chance” they would vote for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, and 24% said there is a “good chance” they would vote for former vice president Joe Biden.

Sean Hildebrand, a Ball State political science professor, said “alarms should be going off” within the Republican Party.

“Even half that number of potential defectors is a major problem for the GOP,” Hildebrand said in a news release.

Ball State said results of the entire Hoosier Survey will be released Tuesday.

House call

If you thought candidate mailings would end with last week's municipal elections, you were wrong.

Yes, the steady stream of postcards from Fort Wayne's mayoral and City Council candidates did dry up. But on Wednesday, mail carriers delivered this dispatch:

“Meet your Republican candidate for Congress, Dr. Chris Magiera.”

One side of the card featured a photo of Magiera in a white lab coat, a stethoscope around his neck. The other side offered his platform: anti-abortion rights, pro-gun rights, border security, small government.

Warsaw resident Magiera announced in July that he will challenge second-term Rep. Jim Banks in next year's Republican primary election in northeast Indiana's 3rd Congressional District. Magiera is married to Pam Galloway, who finished fourth in the 2016 GOP primary won by Banks, then a state senator from Columbia City.

To reach Political Notebook by email, contact Brian Francisco at bfrancisco@jg.net or Niki Kelly at nkelly@jg.net. An expanded Political Notebook can be found as a daily blog at www.journalgazette.net/politicalnotebook.