Two hot mayoral races bring voters to the polls; turnout for other counties low but not unusual

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EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) – For a majority of southwestern Indiana counties, voter turnout was unsurprisingly low for Tuesday’s primary election. The two counties with relatively higher turnout both had hotly contested races for mayor.

Perry County

For Tell City, turnout was relatively high for a municipal primary where one party hosted the only two contested races.

Turnout was reported at 25.29%, with 1,285 out of 5,082 registered voters making their choices known.

There were only two contested races, and both were on the Democratic ticket.

The Perry County Clerk’s Office said there was a big interest in the mayoral race.

In that race, Chris Cail won the nomination over Steve Goodson by just 26 votes.

Cail will face incumbent Republican Mayor Jim Adams in November.

The clerk’s office was pleased with the turnout.

With Republicans having something to vote for in the fall, officials hope turnout could be even higher in November.

Gibson County

The Tell City primary turnout was only eclipsed by the turnout for the Princeton primary races.

Princeton’s Democratic and Republican mayoral races were what likely contributed to the higher interest for voters.

Incumbent Mayor Brad Schmitt was defeated by Greg Wright for the Republican nomination.

Wright will face Dan Beard, the winner of the Democratic mayoral nomination.

Turnout in Princeton was 25.6%.

Countywide, turnout was 23.4% due to a slightly lower turnout of 14.3% in Oakland City.

Vanderburgh County

The turnout numbers for Vanderburgh County were among the lowest in southwestern Indiana, but they were far from unusual for a municipal primary in Evansville.

At 6.28%, the low turnout was only slightly down from the 2015 primary, where 6.76% of registered voters showed up to vote.

In 2011’s primary, turnout was 10.06%. In the spring of 2007, it was 6.12%.

For reference, voter turnout in Vanderburgh County’s 2018 general election was 51.08%. In the primary that year, turnout was 10.97%. The big race that year was for the US Senate seat now held by Republican Mike Braun.

Turnout for the 2016 general election was 53.20%, while the primary turnout was 31.91%. The big race that year was, of course, the race for president.

For those interested in which parties showed up for the 2019 primary election, Vanderburgh County reports that 2,770 voters chose Democratic ballots while 2,223 chose Republican ballots.

Each party had races for voters to choose from.

The Republicans had a mayoral contest, where incumbent Lloyd Winnecke defeated challenger Connie Whitman. Winnecke had 88% of the vote.

The Republicans also had an At-Large City Council race, which saw Alex Schmitt, Ron Beane, and David Christmas move onto the general election in November.

Democrats also chose their three candidates for November’s At-Large race, picking Kaitlin Moore Morley, Gina Robinson Ungar, and lone incumbent Jonathan Weaver.

In Ward 2, Democratic incumbent Missy Mosby won a primary challenge against D’Angelo Taylor. That race was decided by less than 50 votes.

Warrick County

One of the lowest turnouts recorded was in the Town of Newburgh.

Out of 2,442 registered voters capable of voting in one contested race for Newburgh Clerk-Treasurer, only 78 voters went to the polls. That puts voter turnout for the town at 3.19%.

Of those voters, 48 of them voted in the Republican primary.

Jed Hutson defeated Leanna Hughes in the Republican primary, winning by 12 votes.

Even though that would be a small margin in most races — due to low turnout, Hutson carried 63% of the vote.

Hutson will face incumbent Democrat Nannette Kothe-Angel in November.

Kothe-Angel received 27 votes in an uncontested primary.

With 18 precincts with a race to vote on, Warrick County reported a total voter turnout of 7.96%. That’s actually higher than Vanderburgh County’s numbers.

In 2015’s spring primary, with just two contested races in Boonville, voter turnout was 12% for the four precincts with a race to vote on.

In the 2011 primary, with just one contested race in Boonville, turnout was 13.57%. That time, only two precincts had a race to vote on.

County turnout numbers for the 2019 primary

Dubois County – 9.12%
Gibson – 23.4% (Princeton – 25.6%; Oakland City – 14.3%)
Perry – 25.29%
Spencer – 13.42%
Warrick – 7.96%
Vanderburgh – 6.28%

Click here to view all of Tuesday’s election results.

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(This story was originally published on May 8, 2019)

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