Rough day at the polls for incumbents in primary
The 2022 primary election was not a good day to be an incumbent facing a challenge in Putnam County.
Sure, a number of current county officials retained their spots on the Republican ballot, including longtime stalwarts such as Circuit Court Judge Matt Headley, Prosecutor Tim Bookwalter, District 2 Commissioner Rick Woodall and District 4 County Councilman Keith Berry, but all of these were unopposed.
However, across the county, at various levels, all incumbents who faced opposition fell on Tuesday.
Nowhere was this more notable than with 35-year Putnam County Surveyor David Penturf falling 2,171-1,886 to challenger Greg Williams. While Penturf said he was “a little surprised” at the outcome, he also expressed his confidence in Williams to carry on the office.
Another notable upset of an incumbent came with Wayne Huffman topping three-term District 1 Councilman David Fuhrman by a count of 507-403.
While disappointed in the outcome, Fuhrman said he felt it was part of a larger trend in the county and beyond.
“Right now, the country has a lot of disgruntled voters,” Fuhrman said. “I think that came out tonight, not only in this race, but many others.”
The trouble for incumbents was not contained to the county level, though.
In Franklin Township, former Roachdale City Councilman Zach Bowers unseated two-term Trustee Clyde Flynn Coulter Jr. by a count of 99-54, nearly 65 percent of the vote.
Finally, in Cloverdale, Brandon Tancak edged out sitting Councilor Cindy Holland 123-113 for the Republican nomination in Ward 3. (See page 4A.)
Among the unopposed appearing on the local ballot, Judge Headley generated the most support, garnering 3,927 votes in the primary. Other unopposed county candidates performed as follows:
• Prosecutor: Tim Bookwalter 3,546
• Assessor: Don Badolato 3,375
• Commissioner, District 2: Rick Woodall 3,801
• County Council, District 2: Jay Alcorn 1,099
• County Council, District 3: Danny Wallace 855
• County Council, District 4: Keith Berry 929
Vote totals in the various races for township and town positions may be found in the complete results on the left side of page 1A.
Also unopposed in the Republican primary were U.S. Sen. Todd Young, who gained 3,609 votes; U.S. Rep. Jim Baird (District 4) who received 3,666 votes; and State Rep. Beau Baird, who received 3,589.
Just one contested race existed on the local Democrat ballot at any level, the Fourth District congressional race. Locally, Roger Day of Avon easily topped Howard Pollchik of Crawfordsville, 187-95. This reflected the district-wide trend, with Day taking 68.2 percent of the vote with 99 percent of precincts reporting as of Thursday afternoon.
Within the community, just three Democrats appeared on the ballot, with Kirsten Vaughn vying for Jefferson Township trustee, Marianne Novak for Floyd Township Board and Russell Evans for Greencastle Township Board.
Parties have until July to fill any vacancies on the ballot.