November 8, 2023

Duke Bennett shares thoughts after last night's surprising election

Bennett gives his concession speech on election night.  - Clayton Baumgarth - WFIU/WTIU

Bennett gives his concession speech on election night.

Clayton Baumgarth - WFIU/WTIU

After 16 years, Republican Duke Bennett will no longer be mayor of Terre Haute. Bennett lost to political newcomer Brandon Sakbun.

Bennett received 3,806 votes or 40 percent of the vote.

 “I would like to say that I couldn’t be any more proud of what we’ve accomplished for the last 16 years,” Bennett said. “I think we’ve done a lot, a significant amount of things have been accomplished. The team I’ve had has been awesome. It’s just, you know, obviously tonight ends that run.”

Of his accomplishments during his long tenure as mayor, Bennet said he was most proud of getting the city’s finances in order; the budget has been balanced for the past eight years.

“Today we’re in a great fiscal position,” he said. “Getting the casino here was a huge win, getting one overpass done and another one starting construction in a few years, things that should have been done 50 years ago, we were able to accomplish and do that without having any money.

Bennett congratulated Sakbun and assured him that the administrative transition would be a smooth and efficient one.

As far as what comes next for the long-time mayor, Bennett said he is unsure what the future holds.

“I still have a lot to do,” he said. “So I don’t know what role that’s gonna be in, whether it’s in politics or in the private sector. I’m not sure yet, but I’m not in any position to retire. I’m not ready to get out of the mix of helping make Terre Haute a better place.”

In his victory speech, Sakbun wished the incumbent well.

“I want to thank Mayor Bennett, him and his entire family, for 16 years of service to this community,” he said.

Bennett will remain mayor until early January when Sakbun officially takes office.

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