In 2015, Batesville voters had six decisions to make about who they wanted to be their mayor, clerk-treasurer, judge and three council members. This time, three council seats were up for grabs.
Close to 1,500 — actually 1,468 — out of city of Batesville’s 4,964 registered voters in Ripley and Franklin counties cast ballots Tuesday, making the turnout 29.57%.
Franklin County voters were more interested with 31.48% going to the polls vs. Ripley County’s 28.87%.
By precincts, the most enthusiastic voters with 32.45% live in Ripley County’s Laughery 2-1 precinct. The other turnout rates: Franklin’s Batesville 1, 31.48%; and Ripley’s Laughery 3-1, 30.35%; Adams 3, 30.21%; and Laughery 1, 27.78% (five out of just 18 showed up). Well in last place for most apathetic was Ripley’s Laughery 1-1, 24.81%.
Straight party voters really were not a factor. Fifty-seven Ripley County residents voted straight Republican tickets and 18 preferred all Democrats. Franklin County straight party figures were not available.
Four years ago, when Republican Mike Bettice triumphed over Democrat Mike Vonderheide to become the new mayor, the turnout was 33.48%.
Ripley County’s Laughery 2-1 precinct voters were tops with 35.98% showing up. Right behind them were citizens in Franklin County’s Batesville 1 precinct with 35.81%.
The other Ripley precincts: Laughery 3-1, 35.1%; Laughery 1-1, 27.15%; and Adams 3, 21.69%.
Those percentages are less than Batesville’s 2011 election, when Republican Jim Dreyer wanted to take incumbent Democratic Mayor Rick Fledderman’s chair and every city seat had two candidates. That’s when a pretty amazing 38.3 percent cast ballots.
Batesville’s penchant for Republicans was echoed across the state. “The Indiana Republican Party achieved a new record in this year’s municipal elections, ending the 2019 cycle with 70 Republican mayors throughout Indiana. This involved flipping 19 mayoral offices, including those in traditional Democrat strongholds Kokomo, Muncie, Logansport and Michigan City,” according to a news release.
Republicans now hold 23 more mayoral offices than Democrats, another record.
“It was a historic night for Republicans throughout Indiana as voters in city after city elected Republicans mayors,” said Indiana GOP Chairman Kyle Hupfer. “Never in the history of Indiana have Republicans held this many mayoral offices or had this wide a margin over Democrats.”
But that didn’t tell the whole story.
Indiana Democratic Party chair John Zody painted a rosier picture than the IRP message:
“We elected the first African American mayor in Elkhart. We elected a record number of Hoosier Democratic female mayors. We elected the first female mayor in Zionsville and won seats in Hamilton County for the first time ever. We won a majority on the council in Mike Pence’s hometown. We won a commanding council majority and re-elected the mayor by a landslide in Indianapolis. We re-elected the mayor of Fort Wayne and picked up two at-large city council seats. We elected mothers. We elected young Dems. We elected union members. We won in the suburbs and in rural cities.”