As noisy as national and state races were in Indiana on May 3, local contests proved fairly quiet in Scott County.
More Scott Countians came to the polls or voted absentee in this primary. Machine-generated counts reported a total of 6,298 people cast ballots on May 3, advised County Clerk Missy Applegate. People were attracted to the primary because of those national and statewide races, particularly the Presidential races in both the Democrat and Republican parties.
An unofficial comparison of the 2012 primary election versus its 2016 cousin showed that 21% or 3,995 people voted then compared with 6,298 or 32% on Tuesday. Scott County now has a total of 19,704 registered voters on its polling list. There were 19,057 in 2012.
Official vote turnout reports will be issued by the Indiana Secretary of State's office after county clerks submit their reports. Those are due to the state by May 17.
The Democrats had several races for local offices that proved interesting and probably encouraged more folks to register and then exercise their right to vote.
One of those was the contest between current Prosecuting Attorney Jason Mount and local attorney Joseph Payne. Mount beat Payne by a margin of 548 votes, 1,880 to 1,332 or 59% to 41%. Their supporters crowded into the courthouse after polls closed on Tuesday night. Payne dominated in Austin, where his office is located, taking all Jennings precincts there. Mount claimed the rest of the county, thus giving him the victory.
“We're happy with the way the contest went. We're also really tired,” Mount stated later, his wife Shannon at his side.
District 2 County Commissioner Larry Blevins got by challenger Mike Nichols, a Scottsburg police detective, 55 to 45%. Blevins received 1,670 votes to Nichols' 1,363 vote total.
In the crowded field of six candidates for three County Council At-Large seats on the Democrat ballot, incumbents Iva Gasaway and Mike Zollman led the race. Gasaway got the most votes, earning 1,576, while Zollman received 1,407. Winner of the third open seat was former councilman Robert Peacock. But it was tight! Peacock got 1,289 votes. Jim Boswell had a total of 1,282, and former councilman Donnie Richie had 1,263.
Democrat Party Chairman Chuck Sebastian received 1,016 votes in the crowded race.
In the county treasurer's race, incumbent Sheryl Jent was bidding for a chance to win a second four-year term. She got it, beating challenger James “Jimmy” Morgan 1,732 to 1,463 or 54 to 46%.
In the race, Jent carried Johnson, Vienna 2, all five of the Jennings precincts with hefty totals and Lexington 3.
All other Democrat candidates were not opposed in the primary. Marsha Owens Howser, the sitting Superior Court judge, received 2,647 votes. County Clerk Missy Applegate got 2,731 votes. Annalee Harrison-Turley, the County Recorder, had a vote total of 2,701; County Coroner Jerry Buchanan had 2,780; and District 1 County Commissioner Robert Tobias received 2,452 votes.
On the Republican ballot, voters determined that they liked Republican Party Chairman Chris Albertson serving as a County Councilman. Albertson was defeated by Mike Jones by vote counts of 1,409 to 1,180 in the District 2 Commissioner race. That means Jones will now face Commissioner Blevins on November 1.
Lynn Robinson received 2,102 votes in the uncontested Republican slot of District 1 Commissioner. He will now have Commissioner Tobias as his November opponent.
Three people received the nomination for County Council At-Large nominees this fall. Larry Haven led the trio in votes, getting 1,446. David West received 1,336 and Diane Eads Mullins had 1,330. They will compete against the three Democrat nominees in November.
Mark Gardner was the only other local Republican to file for an office. He was unopposed in the primary for the office of county surveyor and got 2,224 votes.