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Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Election night 2020 wrap-up

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Holcomb secures reelection bid

By 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 3, the Associated Press projected incumbent Gov. Eric Holcomb as the winner of the Indiana gubernatorial race, beating Democratic challenger Dr. Woody Myers by roughly 27%. Libertarian candidate Donald Rainwater garnered 12% of the vote, making him one of the most successful third-party candidates to ever run for governor in Indiana.

“Ain’t it great to be a Hoosier,” Holcomb said following his victory. “ … We have so much work to do, and I am flat-out eager to continue to get it done with you over the next four like we’ve done the last four.”

As for Rainwater’s success, many Republican voters voiced frustrations with Holcomb’s mask mandate and shutdown earlier this year in response to the pandemic.

“I’m a small business owner, and that decision hurt me,” one voter at Apostolic Life Church said Nov. 3. The voter, who declined to be named, said he was voting for Rainwater and for President Donald Trump’s reelection.

While Holcomb thanked Myers and congratulated him on his campaign, he made no mention of Rainwater while addressing supporters following his win. A representative from Rainwater’s campaign could not be reached for comment.

In his succession speech, Myers said he knew his election was a “long shot,” but repeated his criticisms of Holcomb’s administration, namely the governor’s response to COVID-19.

“I knew we could be better and do more and work with those who have so little and need so much,” Myers said. The former state health commissioner said the pandemic and the death of George Floyd gave him a sense of urgency for his campaign, but his campaign failed to raise the funds for a successful bid.

Marion County voter turnout exceeds 2016 numbers

Throughout the first few days of early voting, Marion County residents broke records set in 2016 in terms of turnout.

Throughout the first nine days of early voting, 13,206 county residents cast a ballot, according to the Marion County Clerk’s Office. That’s nearly 10,000 more votes in the same time period in 2008 and 5,000 more than in 2016.

This year, Marion County had a 58% voter turnout.

“It’s still early,” Russell Hollis, deputy director for the Marion County Clerk’s Office said Nov. 3. “But 58% seems like a reasonable projection.”

In 2016, Marion County had a voter turnout of roughly 53%.

Hollis credits excitement from voters for the increase in turnout, and the fact that many voters didn’t want to wait to cast their ballot during an unpredictable pandemic. Further, he said absentee-by-mail turnout was high in the county, as well.

Rokita wins attorney general race

Former Indiana Congressman Todd Rokita won the race for Indiana Attorney General against Democratic challenger Jonathan Weinzapfel. Rokita, 50, will succeed current Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill.

Rokita defeated Weinzapfel, former mayor of Evansville, with 61.5% of the vote, according to the Associated Press.

Following his win Nov. 3, Rokita said he would uphold conservative values as the state’s top lawyer.

“You know our state has come so far under commonsense conservative leadership over the last 15 years,” Rokita said in a statement. “ … I will continue to provide that same kind of pro-growth, limited government leadership which has allowed our state to succeed. In all things I will work to protect Indiana and put Hoosiers first.”

 In his concession speech, Weinzapfel said he was proud of what his campaign was able to do.

 “While our campaign fell short, I am proud of the issues we raised,” Weinzapfel said. “From supporting the governor’s mask order … to issuing plans to help the state recover from the pandemic, to a plan to legalize marijuana to fund schools and make long overdue improvements to our criminal justice system, these were all issues that were worth raising and will continue to be defining issues in our state.”

Just hours before polls closed in Indiana, Rokita’s campaign announced the candidate had tested positive for COVID-19 after developing symptoms, but was “doing well.”

Indiana’s 5th House District an unprecedented battleground

In one of America’s most-watched congressional races, Republican candidate Victoria Spartz has a narrow lead against challenger Christina Hale in Indiana’s 5th U.S. House District. The race has not yet been called.

The seat went up for grabs after Republican Susan Brooks announced her retirement following a close race against Dee Thornton in 2018. Brooks served in the historically conservative district since 2012.

Spartz was endorsed by both President Donald Trump and Donald Trump Jr., while Hale – who outraised Spartz by over $2 million – was endorsed by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.

Despite Republican candidates typically winning the district with ease, many political analysts called the 5th Congressional District a “toss-up” for several months. Nearly a week before Election Day, several prominent pollsters labeled the district “tilt Democratic.”

However, despite a competitive race throughout most of the night Nov. 3, Spartz had a 9% lead over Hale by midnight on Nov. 4.

While Hale has not yet conceded, Spartz has already declared victory, telling supporters she looked forward to giving back to the community that “lifted [me] up.” At the time of publication, there are still uncounted ballots.

Carson wins reelection

Rep. Andre Carson has retained the U.S. House of Representatives seat he has held since 2008.

The Democratic incumbent was reelected to serve Indiana’s 7th District with roughly 60% of the vote against Republican challenger Susan Smith.

In an earlier questionnaire from the Recorder, Carson said he was running to “create a more just, equal and inclusive Indiana and America.” Citing the death of George Floyd and racial inequities in health care – particularly noticeable during the pandemic – Carson said police reform and getting COVID-19 under control are his biggest goals for his upcoming term.

During a virtual Indiana Democratic event Nov. 3, Carson thanked his constituents and called for unity among lawmakers and American citizens, because “COVID does not discriminate.”

“It’s an honor to once again be elected to serve the people of Indiana’s 7th Congressional District,” Carson said in a statement. “Serving Hoosiers in Congress is the honor of my life and a responsibility I don’t take lightly.”

Presidential election still up in the air

At the time of publication, the 2020 presidential election between former Vice President Joe Biden and President Donald Trump has not been called. Currently, the Biden campaign has 224 Electoral College votes while the Trump campaign has 213. A candidate must have 270 Electoral College votes to be declared the winner. Currently, eight states, including battleground state Pennsylvania, do not have a projected winner.

Early Nov. 4, Biden shared his optimism with supporters in Wilmington, Delaware.

“We feel good about where we are, we really do,” Biden said. “We believe we’re on track to win this election. We knew because of the unprecedented early and mail-in vote that it was going to take a while. We’ll have to be patient. … It ain’t over until every vote is counted.”

Citing fears Trump would declare victory before final votes were tallied, Biden told voters: “It’s not my place or Donald Trump’s place to decide who wins this election. That’s up to the American people.”

President Trump also projected he was on track to win the election, but argued, with no evidence, that he was being cheated out of reelection.

In an early morning Tweet Nov. 4, the president suggested Democrats were trying to steal the election, which was censored as “misleading” by Twitter.

In a press conference from the White House, Trump thanked voters for their “tremendous support,” and said “a very sad group of people is trying to disenfranchise that group of people, and we won’t stand for it. … This is a fraud to the American public. … Frankly, we did win this election.”

There is currently no evidence that any attempts are being made to steal the election.

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