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Ballard leads Peterson in Indy mayor race

Marion County - Republicans look to make major gains in races across central Indiana, with the Indianapolis mayor and City-County Council looking like the biggest stories of the night.
/ Source: WTHR-TV

Marion County - Republicans look to make major gains in races across central Indiana, with the Indianapolis mayor and City-County Council looking like the biggest stories of the night.

The race for Indianapolis mayor is turning out to be an old-fashioned barn burner. Republican challenger Greg Ballard is leading Mayor Bart Peterson 50-46 percent with over 84 percent of precincts reporting. If Ballard wins, it will be an historic upset for the city and the first time in 40 years that an incumbent Indianapolis mayor has lost a bid for re-election.

The mood at the GOP Marion County headquarters was upbeat throughout the evening. "Still optimistic," Ballard told Eyewitness News at around 9:40 pm. "I think we're gonna do it."

"This is the largest political upset in the history of Indianapolis and one of the largest in the history of the state. It's an indication that people, even in a very large city and regardless of which candidate is better known and has more money, can still take destiny into their own hands. Republicans now have both the opportunity and responsibility to show what they can do in charge of the state's largest city," said Peter Rusthoven, WTHR Republican analyst.

"It's disappointing, but it shows you that in this profession at any given time bigger issues can overtake anything. The fact of the matter is that Bart ran against a candidate that I called Proper T. Tax and that had an impact tonight. But things in this profession are cyclical and the loser tonight can be the winner tomorrow. I think that it will be more important that everybody demonstrate that they can govern this community and that they work to end the acrimony that demonstrated itself in this campaign," said Robin Winston, WTHR Democratic analyst.

Lawrence mayor

Meanwhile, Republican Paul Ricketts looks poised to upset incumbent Deborah Cantwell in the race for Lawrence mayor.

Organizers at Ricketts' campaign headquarters tell Eyewitness News they're expecting a phone call soon from Democratic incumbent.

With 23 of 34 precincts (67 percent) reporting, Ricketts had 1,533 votes to Cantwell's 1,224.

Other upsets

Early returns also indicate that other incumbents may be in trouble. In the Marion County City-County Council, Republicans look poised to gain up to six seats, sending them well over their current 14-seat minority. Republican Michael McQuillen looks like he may unseat incumbent Democrat Sherron Franklin in District 12.

In Anderson, Democrat Kris Ockomon upset incumbent Mayor Kevin Smith-R.

In Muncie, with all precincts reporting, the race is still too close to call. Democrat James Mansfield Jr. leads Republican Sharon McShurley by just nine votes. Republican Mayor Dan Canan did not seek re-election after three terms.

In Kokomo, Democrats regained control of the mayor's office as Greg Goodnight beat Rick Hamilton.

In Newcastle, Jim Small-R beat out Sherman Bowles-D.

In Franklin, Independent Fred Paris upset incumbent Mayor Brenda Jones Matthews-R.

In Terre Haute, Duke Bennett-R upset Democratic incumbent Mayor Kevin Burke, and in West Lafayette, incumbent Mayor Jan Mills-D is behind, with Jon Dennis-R is winning.

In fort Wayne, with 96 percent of the precincts reporting, Democrat Tom Henry is the apparent winner over Republican Matt Kelty 60 percent to 40 percent. The campaign was dominated by the indictment of Kelty on perjury and campaign finance charges in August. Kelty denies any wrongdoing.

Among other mayoral races already decided:

Democratic incumbent Stephen Luecke has beaten Republican challenger Juan Manigault in South Bend. In Lebanon, Republican John Lasley defeated Democrat Roger Neal and independent candidate George Piper. In Tipton, Democrat Dan Delph defeated Republican Angela Grosvenor. In Beech Grove, Mayor Joe Wright keeps his seat.

This story will be updated as more results come in. Bookmark this page and check back for updates.