Indiana Democrats make history, score wins in key mayoral races

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(The Center Square) – It was a good night for Democrats in Indiana on Tuesday as elections across the state led to the party’s candidates taking over as mayors in some of the state’s largest cities.

In Terre Haute, 27-year-old Brandon Sakbun unseated four-term Republican incumbent Duke Bennett. The former Army Ranger garnered 59.7% of the vote in the two-way race, winning by 1,860 votes out of 9,472 ballots cast to become the youngest mayor for the west-central Indiana city.

“We made history tonight. But we will make history the next 4 years,” Sakbun posted on his campaign’s Facebook page late Tuesday evening.

He wasn’t the only Democrat making history as two Black female candidates won races in Evansville and Lawrence.

Deb Whitfield became the first Black mayor in Marion County as she beat Republican David Hofmann by 511 votes, scoring 52.6% of the vote in the Indianapolis suburb. She won an election for the second time in four years after taking a seat on the city’s Common Council in 2019.

Republican incumbent Steve Collier decided not to seek another term.

“I promise to do my best to serve every citizen of this great city as your mayor,” Whitfield tweeted Tuesday night. “Tonight, we celebrate, tomorrow, we get to work.”

Stephanie Terry defeated Republican Natalie Rascher and Libertarian Michael Daugherty. The Vanderburgh County Council member and executive director for the children’s museum in the southwestern Indiana river city earned 48.6% of the vote.

She will replace Republican Lloyd Winnecke, who chose not to run for a fourth term.

Indiana Democratic Party Chairman Mike Schmuhl said Evansville elected “a dynamic new leader” who will become its first Black and female mayor.

“As mayor, she’ll work for everyone and continue the vital work of taking Evansville to new heights,” Schmuhl said.

Democrats also maintained their positions in the state’s two largest cities. Fort Wayne Mayor Thomas Henry held off Republican Tom Didier, receiving 51.9% of the vote to earn a fifth term. Joe Hogsett won his third term as Indianapolis mayor by defeating Republican Jefferson Scott Shreve by 19 percentage points.

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