The Howard County Republican Party demolished Democrats in tonight’s election, claiming the mayor’s office, every contested seat on the Kokomo Common Council, and the clerk’s office.
In the evening’s biggest race, Republican Tyler Moore soundly defeated Democratic opponent Abbie Smith, securing his position as Mayor Greg Goodnight’s successor in January. Additionally, Republicans Kara Kitts-McKibben, Tony Stewart, and Matt Grecu clinched the three council’s three at-large seats. And long-term incumbent Democrats were unseated in the races for District 1, District 2, District 3, District 4, and the city clerk.
By the time the Democrats conceded defeat, wide margins separated the mayoral candidates. Moore garnered 9,922 votes (68.2 percent) to Smith’s 4,550 (31.27 percent). Libertarian Michael Virgin remained on this year’s ballot despite dropping out earlier in the race, with his name still available for selection by voters due to his not having dropped out prior to the state’s deadline. He snagged 77 votes.
In the at-large race, Grecu earned 22.19 percent of the total vote, and Kitts-McKibben followed closely with 21.83 percent. Rounding out the at-large race was Stewart’s 20.29 percent. The Republicans in the at-large race defeated incumbent Democrats Bob Hayes (12.94 percent) and Mike Kennedy (11.3 percent), as well as newcomer Matt Sedam (11.44 percent).
In District 1 Republican Jason Acord unseated long-time incumbent Democrat Mike Wyant, with Acord garnering 50.27 percent of the votes compared to Wyant’s 49.73 percent.
Similarly, in District 2 another incumbent, Democrat Bob Cameron, lost his seat. Republican Lynn Rudolph beat out Cameron with 58.27 percent of the vote.
The District 3 race featured two new candidates, both vying to replace Councilwoman Janie Young, who announced earlier in the year she would not seek another term in office. Republican Ray Collins brought in 60.20 percent of the vote in this race, ensuring his victory over Democrat Cathy Cox-Stover (39.8 percent).
In similar fashion, another incumbent candidate, Democrat Donnie Haworth, was unseated by a Republican challenger in District 4. Greg Jones earned 54.57 percent of the vote in that district, and Libertarian Daniel Purvis snagged 3.2 percent.
The Republican victories ensured the party would assume complete control of city government, with the incoming candidates set to join fellow Republicans Cindy Sanders and Tom Miklik, who went unchallenged in Districts 5 and 6, respectively.
Rounding out the night’s proceedings was the race for Kokomo city clerk. Republican Diane Howard ended the evening with 61.33 percent of the vote, to incumbent Brenda Brunnemer-Ott’s 38.67 percent.
In total, 14,675 ballots were cast in this year’s municipal election. Unofficial totals this evening indicated Republicans brought in huge quantities of straight-ticket votes, with 4,453 voters choosing to vote Republican across the board. Comparatively, 2,005 voters chose straight ticket Democrat.