Baird unseats Michael
GREENCASTLE -- A new Indiana state representative will be serving District 44 come 2011.
Republican James Baird, a former Putnam County Councilman, bested incumbent Democrat Nancy Michael in Tuesday's General Election. Baird will officially take office in January.
"I'm very appreciative of all the help I've had," Baird said. "I am very much looking forward to the opportunity to serve West Central Indiana.
Baird said he didn't go into the election with any preconceived notions.
"I don't know what I expected," he said with a chuckle.
During his campaign, Baird promised that he would "get focused on job creation and seek new ways to reduce spending at all levels of government."
Baird resides in Greencastle. He is a farmer and longtime business owner, as well as a decorated Army veteran.
He had served on the County Council since 2006. Baird announced his candidacy for the representative's seat last January.
He is a graduate and has a Ph.D in animal science from the University of Kentucky. He owns an in-home healthcare business in Greencastle along with his family.
Michael, a former Greencastle mayor, was elected as state representative in 2008. She was mayor from 1996 to 2007, and prior to that had been on the Putnam County Council and was clerk of the Putnam County Circuit Court.
"This was a great race," Michael said. "I'm proud to have been on the ticket, and I look forward to seeing how things will go from here."
Michael doesn't know if she will seek public office in the future.
"All I can say is, no commitments at this point in time," she said.
House District 44 includes all of Putnam County and parts of Clay, Parke and Vigo counties. In Putnam County, 10,275 votes were cast in the race -- Baird received 54.88 percent of those votes, 41.36 percent went to Michael and 3.76 percent went to Libertarian Dennis Beatty.
There are 52 precincts in the area District 44 covers. District-wide, Baird received 55 percent of the votes, Michael 41 percent and Beatty 4 percent.