The Journal Gazette
 
 
Wednesday, March 16, 2016 7:39 am

Henry, Harper dominate city mayoral primaries

Dave Gong The Journal Gazette

Though the results probably didn’t surprise anyone Tuesday night, Fort Wayne now has two clear mayoral candidates moving into November. 

On Nov. 3, voters will have to decide between Mayor Tom Henry, the two-term Democrat and former Fort Wayne city councilman, or Councilman Mitch Harper, the former Republican state representative who represents the city’s 4th District. 

Both candidates enjoyed overwhelming support in their primaries.

Harper earned 8,473 votes, or about 84 percent of ballots cast. 

"It was great to see the percentage be the same from the beginning of the evening to the end," said Harper, 59. "I think that indicates there’s very little geographic difference between the districts in the community, that was gratifying to see. We have a great ticket moving forward."

Henry, for his part, earned 77 percent of ballots cast, earning 5,676 total votes.

"I’m flattered and humbled that the party chose me to be the nominee to run for mayor on the Democratic ticket," said Henry, 63. "As I understand it, Mitch Harper also won ... and I’m looking forward to a spirited debate."

If elected, Henry would be the first Democratic mayor in Fort Wayne to serve three consecutive terms. The last Fort Wayne mayor to serve three consecutive terms was Republican Paul Helmke, who served from 1988 through 1999.

The mayor’s position pays $128,593 a year.

Though more specifics about Harper’s campaign focus moving into November will be revealed in the days and weeks to come, Harper said voters will notice some similar themes to what was presented during the primary – particularly fiscal responsibility. 

"I’m a little more frugal than the current occupant and the current administration," he said. "You have to tell people like it is, protect the Legacy Fund, spend infrastructure dollars smartly on those things that undergird every part of the city of Fort Wayne. First things first."

Moving into November, Henry said he will work to ensure his administration’s vision for the city continues to thrive. 

"Obviously, we’re going to take a look at all of our accomplishments so far, how do we build on those and what new initiatives we need to develop to keep Fort Wayne moving forward," he said. 

dgong@jg.net

 

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