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Friday, May 6, 2016

Up and down the ballot, local voters go Republican

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Not only was it a Republican sweep Tuesday in the contested Putnam County races, but it was a GOP-only party in the state and national contests decided by county voters as well.

"If you're looking for a comment," Putnam County Democrat Chairman Dave Bohmer said, "It's 'same old, same old.'"

With nearly 60 percent of all registered county voters (59.13 percent) casting ballots in the general election, Putnam voters went overwhelmingly for Republicans with Mitt Romney as their presidential choice, Mike Pence as the gubernatorial preference and, in a closer race, Richard Mourdock for the U.S. Senate seat.

"It was a good night," Putnam County Republican Chairman Darwyn Nelson said in an understatement.

"The thing I noticed, No. 1," Nelson added, "was the turnout. If anybody didn't know anything about this election, they had to have been under a stump somewhere."

Among all non-local candidates, incumbent Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller led the Putnam ballot on his way to winning a second term with 9,157 votes to just 4,072 for Democrat foe Kay Fleming.

Incumbent Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett outpolled Democrat challenger Glena Ritz locally, 7,329-5,932.

And in the District 4 congressional race, Republican Todd Rokita of Avon was the Putnam County choice (as well as the district preference) over Tara Nelson by an 8,631-4,061 margin.

In carrying Putnam County by nearly a 2-to-1 margin, Romney captured all but three of the 31 local precincts. President Obama won only three local precincts, all inside Greencastle City limits (First South, Second West and Third West).

In the governor's race, Pence won all but five Putnam precincts as Democrat challenger John Gregg captured only First North, First South, Second West, Third West and Fourth East, again all inside city limits. Former "Survivor" contestant Rupert Boneham finished a distant third as a Libertarian candidate with 864 votes (6.3 percent) locally.

In the U.S. Senate race, 52.4 percent of Putnam County voters punched their ticket for Mourdock, choosing him over Democrat Joe Donnelly (39.8 percent) and Libertarian candidate Andrew Horning, who polled 1,008 votes locally for 7.73 percent in the best local showing of anyone in his party.

"The rural precincts really showed up," Nelson praised with many such areas showing about 65 percent turnout, led by Foxridge on Greencastle's south side with a 73.28 percent showing.

Nelson pointed to his home precinct of Jefferson, which produced a 67.39 percent turnout, its highest-ever output, the GOP chairman said.

The night's smallest turnout, the only precinct under 30 percent, came in First South at 29.12 percent as just 219 of 752 voters went to the polls.

The Republican sweep didn't shock Democrat Chairman Bohmer.

He said if nothing much matters to voters than candidates having an R or a D behind their name on the ballot, then "you're always going to get the same result."

"That's not sour grapes," Bohmer stressed. "Nothing that happened here tonight surprises me."

He was encouraged, however, by the vote in a couple of state races locally.

Many Putnam voters made a conscious effort not to vote for Mourdock for Senate, Bohmer noted. However, not all of the anti-Mourdock vote went to the Democrat Donnelly as Libertarian Horning got more than 1,000 votes.

Meanwhile, the Ritz-Bennett race for superintendent of public instruction also caught Bohmer's eye in how Ritz fared much better than other Democrats on the ballot, getting 44.73 percent of the local vote.

For an office that receives little attention during the campaign, Bohmer said the inroads made by Ritz and her minimal campaign "were quite significant."

Overall, 11,029 voters cast machine ballots Tuesday in Putnam County with 2,978 voting absentee ballots earlier for a total of 14,008 or 59.13 percent of the county's 23,692 overall registered voters.

Republicans cast 2,888 straight-party tickets, while 1,312 Democrat did the same and eight voters went straight Libertarian.

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