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GOP wave takes Harrison

Republicans take all but two county races

November 10, 2010
A wave of Republicans claimed victory in Harrison County in last Tuesday's General Election. One long-time Democrat politician called it a tsunami as many Democrats, including several incumbents, lost their bid for office.

In arguably the most anticipated race of the General Election, Meade County Sheriff's Department Det. Rod Seelye, a Republican, defeated Democrat Gary Gilley, a deputy with the Harrison County Sheriff's Department, by more than 2,300 votes.

Seelye was like a rock star after Republican Party chair Scott Fluhr read the results with 100 percent of the county's 36 precincts reporting. He was surrounded by friends and well-wishers who offered hugs and handshakes as he made his way through the third floor of the Harrison County Court House. By the time Seelye reached the doorway a few minutes later, his opponent had shown up. They hugged and shook hands before chatting.

"I told him he ran a good race and I told him it was just a bad time (for Democrats)," Seelye said of the discussion. "I think the reason we won was that we had a clear message from the outset. We weren't promising perfection, but honesty and a clear game-plan for change."

Of the 15,137 votes cast in the election, 14,988 — or 99 percent — of the ballots included a vote for sheriff. Of those, 8,664 gave Seelye the nod.

Seelye, who will earn a salary of $80,000 next year as approved by the Harrison County Council, will name Wayne Kessinger, formerly of Louisville Metro Police, as his chief deputy.

Seelye and two other Republican candidates, Otto Schalk and John Evans, were part of their own political action committee, Justice for All of Harrison County, formed by attorneys Maryland Austin, Chris Byrd and Marian Pearcy, which proved to be successful.

Schalk defeated Dennis Byrd, who has been the prosecuting attorney the past eight years, and Evans defeated Ron Simpson, the former prosecutor, for the office of circuit court judge being vacated by H. Lloyd (Tad) Whitis.

At the age of 25, Schalk is reportedly the youngest person to be elected prosecutor in Indiana. He received 7,596 votes; Byrd had 7,154.

Evans, who has served the past eight years as a public defender in Harrison Circuit Court, received 52 percent of the votes (7,677) to Simpson's 48 percent (7,033).

Klinstiver edges incumbent Miller

Republican Jim Klinstiver ousted incumbent Terry Miller for the District 3 Commissioner seat, by a count of 7,467 to 6,999.

Miller regained the seat in 2006, after being beaten by current councilman Jim Heitkemper in 2002. Miller held the seat for three, four-year terms and 1-1/2 years of the late Wayne Brown's second term before losing in 2002.

Shireman returned to auditor's office

Republican Karen Shireman, who served as county auditor from 1995 to 2002, was elected to serve as auditor over Democrat Heather Metcalf. Auditor Pat Wolfe was unable to run again due to term limits.

Shireman, who received 9,046 votes to Metcalf's 5,309, said she won partly due to the "tide of the nation," which had a strong Republican outcome.

She said she and Metcalf had a "very clean race" and that both parties had "good, qualified candidates."

Shireman said she has no plans to clean house in the auditor's office. "You just don't do that," she said.

GOP takes control of county council

The Harrison County Council will again have a Republican majority, after the GOP secured three of four races up for grabs last night in the General Election.

Republican challenger Phil Smith narrowly defeated Democrat incumbent Leslie Robertson by a vote of 1,486 to 1,446 for the District 1 seat.

Robertson said she was not sure if she would call for a recount. "I'll have to think about it," she said.

In the District 2 race, Republican Gary Davis topped Democrat Robert (Bob) Morris by a count of 2,249 to 1,568. Morris was selected to succeed William T. (Bill) Nichols on the council in July after Nichols died from burns suffered in a farming accident.

Davis served on the council from 1999 to 2006 and was the chairman for the last six years of his term.

In the most landslide council race, Republican Ralph Sherman easily defeated challenger Andrew Eschbacher, 1,996 to 1,260.

Incumbent Gordon Pendleton was the lone Democrat to secure a victory in the council races. Pendleton defeated Republican Jeremy Shireman by 71 votes, 2,301 to 2,230.

Hauswald avoids Republican push

One of the few Democrats to come through the election unscathed was one-term incumbent Treasurer Carol Hauswald. She defeated her Republican opponent, Teresa Sutton of Elizabeth, by 661 votes, a surprising margin considering the strength of the GOP this election year.

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    Retool Government
    November 12, 2010 | 10:06 AM

    If you currently hold a public office,stay humble and do your job!!! Remember who hired you. And, if you do anything against the will of the people(UNINTELLIGENT SPEED LIMITS ON COUNTY ROADS for example), come 2012 you will NO LONGER have a job!!!!!!!

Schuler Bauer
Barbara Shaw
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