INDIANAPOLIS - Cities across Indiana, including Indianapolis, are holding mayoral elections today. Democrat Joe Hogsett and Republican Chuck Brewer are visiting with voters across the city today as they vie to succeed Republican Mayor Greg Ballard, who is not seeking re-election.
This is not Hogsett’s first Election Day – he made unsuccessful runs for U.S. Senate and Congress in the 1990s, after serving as Indiana Secretary of State. In those campaigns, he spent Election Days flying all over the state, trying to hit as many cities as possible. This one is different.
But he said this day has a different feel.
“Whereas here, it’s going out, shaking the voters’ hands, greeting them as they’re coming to the polls, asking for their support, so there’s a very retail element to it,” Hogsett said.
Hogsett’s opponent on the ballot, political newcomer Chuck Brewer, also scheduled several stops today to rally his supporters. Independent Sam Carson is running a write-in campaign.
Turnout during today’s local elections is expected to be low, if early voting data is an indication. As of late last week, in-person early voting was down 43 percent compared to the last local election cycle four years ago, according to the Marion County clerk's office. Requests for absentee ballots were also down significantly.
But voters have been showing up to their polling places to elect new mayors and city-county councilors, including Wayne Township resident Courtney Patterson. She said crime and education are the two big issues for her, and she wishes there was more discussion on issues, particularly education.
“Actually this election was kind of tough for me because I felt like I had to dig a lot more than normal, which I guess we should do our due diligence,” Patterson said.
Patterson said she appreciated the civil tone of the Hogsett-Brewer race.
As he greeted voters Tuesday, Brewer said it had been his goal to run a clean campaign.
"I always hoped that we could focus on the issues, keep this something that would move the city forward, regardless of who went into office. And I think we’ve achieved that," Brewer said.
Control of the redrawn City-County Council is also up for grabs in Marion County. This is the first election since the unification of city and county government that doesn't include at-large seats.
Elsewhere, the incumbent mayors in Fort Wayne and Evansville face prominent challengers on Tuesday. Terre Haute Republican Mayor Duke Bennett's Democratic opponent is Mark Bird, the older brother of Basketball Hall of Famer Larry Bird.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.