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New Albany Mayor Jeff Gahan wins primary, at-large race close in Clarksville

Southern Indiana voters have selected municipal candidates to move on to the general election in November. There were contested races in Charlestown, Clarksville, Jeffersonville and New Albany.
Aprile Rickert
Southern Indiana voters have selected municipal candidates to move on to the general election in November. There were contested races in Charlestown, Clarksville, Jeffersonville and New Albany.

Southern Indiana residents cast votes this week in municipal primary races, moving candidates ahead to the general election. Unofficial results show New Albany Democratic incumbent Mayor Jeff Gahan winning with nearly 80% of the vote, and a very close at-large race in Clarksville.

There were only a handful of contested municipal primary races in Clark and Floyd counties for this year’s primary election. And though there were fewer than 6,000 total ballots cast, some voters who turned out said they felt a sense of duty and called voting a patriotic act.

Floyd County 

Of the 25,949 registered voters, less than 9% came out to vote for New Albany city races, only two of which were contested in the primary.

Unofficial results show incumbent Democratic Mayor Jeff Gahan with a big win over political newcomer Dylan Rash, who brought in 322 votes, or around 20% of the vote.

Gahan, who’s seeking a fourth term, will face longtime Republican state Rep. Ed Clere in fall.

The only other contested race in New Albany was council District 4 — Democratic candidate Christopher FitzGerald beat Ken Brooks with 110 votes, or around 56% of the vote. He’ll face Republican David Aebersold in the General Election. Aebersold is currently an at-large council member.

Voter Linda Williams owns Chestnuts and Pearls in downtown New Albany. She’s one of multiple shop owners who say they’ve been negatively impacted by a road construction project over the past year, and that played a role in how she voted.

“My vote is definitely going to reflect that we need a change,” she told LPM News Tuesday. Williams said she also feels there aren’t enough choices for voters on the ballot.

“People should get involved in politics,” she said. “That’s our God-given right, or our Constitutional right, to vote and seek out the best candidate that’s going to serve the people.”

Jana Stacy moved to New Albany several years ago and said it’s always been important for her to vote — her father is a World War II veteran and she feels it’s a duty.

She also said she’s worried about her own human rights.

“So I don’t care what election it is, I’m voting and I’m voting straight Democrat,” she said. “I owe that to my granddaughter.”

There were no contested primary races in Georgetown, and caucuses will be held by early July to select Greenville candidates to compete in the general election in November.

Floyd County Clerk Danita Burks said it was a smooth election and that “the people that turned out, we are very thankful that they came and voted, and we hope to see them all in the fall.”

She expects a larger turnout in November.

Burks said there were three provisional ballots cast in the primary, but doesn’t expect them to change any races. Votes will be certified May 15.

Here are the unofficial Floyd County results.

Clark County

Of the roughly 3,500 ballots cast in Clark County, more than half were for Democratic races. There was one provision ballot cast, which will be opened May 9.

Clarksville had the most contested primary seats, including a very tight at-large race.

Democratic candidates Bob McEwen and Janne Newland garnered the most votes for the two seats in the primary, with Mike Mustain — who currently represents Clarksville Town Council District 4 — coming in third place by just three votes.

He has not yet said whether he plans to pursue a challenge to the results.

The winners will face Republican candidates David “Red” Worrall and incumbent Jennifer Voignier in the fall.

In Clarksville District 1, Democrat Tony Munich beat Christian H. Barerra, bringing in nearly three-fourths of votes. Democrat Adam Rayborn beat Kenny Brown with nearly 59% of the vote.

In the District 5 race, half of voters chose Republican Bob Stotts over Dustin Kavanaugh and Troy D. Cox. Stotts will face Democrat Laura DeMent in the fall.

Elizabeth Byers was one of around a dozen voters who had cast ballots at the Clarksville Town Hall polling location by noon Tuesday.

“My kids tease me because on the freezer part of my refrigerator, I have all my ‘I voted’ stickers,” she said, adding they span the past 20 or so years. “I’ve just always told my kids, ‘Any time you have the opportunity to express your opinion, you need to take advantage of that.’”

In the Jeffersonville at-large race, Democratic candidates Evan Stoner, Jacky Snelling and John Perkins beat Jim Moon III for the three nominations.

They’ll face Republican incumbents Scott Hawkins and Matt Owen and Malinda Mackenzie in the general election in fall.

In Charlestown District B, Republican Ronald Blevins Jr. beat Donnie Thomas with 87 votes, or just over 57% of the vote.

There were no contested primary races in Sellersburg or Utica.

Walter Carrico was the election inspector at First Presbyterian Church in Jeffersonville, which had seen 60 voters just before 11 a.m. Tuesday.

He said that’s lower than what he’s seen in years past in different locations.

“My personal thoughts are that everybody should vote, and if you show up to vote, you are a patriot in my eyes,” he said. “That means to me, they care about our county, they care about our city, they care about our state and they care about our country … for whatever level of election it is.”

Here are the unofficial Clark County results.

Several seats were unfilled in the Clark and Floyd County primaries. In these cases, county Republican and Democratic parties can select candidates to compete in the general election.

Libertarian and Independents also have until July to file. As of Wednesday morning, no Libertarian or Independent candidates had filed in Clark County.

In Floyd County, four Libertarian candidates had filed. Josh “J.T.” Turner is running for a New Albany City Council at-large seat; Andrew Nicholson for New Albany City Clerk; David “Logan” Gramlin is running for District 1 and Jeffery Mayott for District 2.

Coverage of Southern Indiana is funded, in part, by Samtec, Inc. and the Hazel & Walter T. Bales Foundation.

Aprile Rickert is LPM's Southern Indiana reporter. Email Aprile at arickert@lpm.org.

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