It was a close race, but Tippecanoe County Coroner Donna Hart Avolt eked out a 266-vote win over rival Mark Buono Tuesday.
Avolt is the widow of longtime Tippecanoe County coroner David Avolt, and took over the position after his death in 2012.
Avolt was among the last people still watching returns file in at the Tippecanoe County Building Tuesday evening. Long after other winners had been called, the coroners’ race was still in contention.
"I am very delighted with the voters of Tippecanoe County for recognizing the excellent job that our office does," she says.
Avolt praised her 12-person team and added she was excited to get back to work.
Incumbent Tippecanoe County surveyor Zach Beasley won two-thirds of Republican voters’ support during Tuesday’s primary, beating challenger Michael Daugherty.
The win came after a contentious campaign that saw Beasley and Daugherty sling accusations at each other, with Beasley questioning Daugherty’s academic credentials and Daugherty criticizing the incumbent for outsourcing labor from beyond county lines.
Beasley says name recognition may have helped garner a win in an election that saw a huge voter turnout, albeit from voters he concedes were most likely not paying attention to a county surveyors’ race.
"There was a large number of people that would actually came up and talk to me and several of my folks that were working for me, today asking questions while they were standing in line," he says. "And several of the voting centers had lines where they were standing there 30 minutes, 40 minutes."
No Democrat filed to run in the surveyor’s race.
DISTRICT 26 STATE REPRESENTATIVE
The contest is set for what will likely be a campaign of statewide interest, as Republican Sally Siegrist and Democrat Vicky Woeste face-off for the District 26 seat.
Incumbent Republican Randy Truitt is not seeking reelection after four terms representing the district primarily composed of West Lafayette and the western portion of Tippecanoe County.
Woeste, a research professor for the American Bar Foundation in Chicago, says without an incumbent in the race, a Democrat may get more support from those hoping to squash Republican supermajorities in both houses of the Indiana legislature…
“Our district, because it’s purple, to put it mildly, is in a position to help contribute to a rebalancing of the divided parties,” she says.
She won 59 percent of the Democratic vote to Deanna McMillan's 41 percent.
Woeste will face Tippecanoe County councilor Sally Siegrist, who won 63 percent of the vote in her race against West Lafayette city councilor Gerry Keen.
Siegrist says she hopes to avoid any mud-slinging in the months leading up to November:
"District 26 has so many positive things going on with it right now," she says, "and I am willing and hope to sign a pledge along with my opponent for the campaign to stay positive."
Democrats need to gain five seats to erase the Republican supermajority in the Indiana House.
Democrat Joe Micon represented District 26 for two terms prior to Truitt's eight years in office.