You are the owner of this article.
featured

Styron upsets Haak in mayoral contest

  • 2 min to read

Democratic Party mayoral candidate Emily Styron defeated incumbent Republican candidate Tim Haak by fewer than 100 votes Tuesday evening.

Unofficial vote totals were 4,035 votes for Styron and 3,947 for Haak. There is no automatic recount; a candidate must file a request for one.

Zionsville will continue to have an all-Republican town council, with Jason Plunkett (District 2), Craig Melton (District 3), Joe Culp (District 4), and Brad Burk and Alexander Choi (At-Large) leading their races by substantial margins. Incumbent Republicans Bryan Traylor, District 1 and Joshua Garrett, District 5, were unopposed this fall and will return to their respective seats.

Both Zionsville Community School referendums passed overwhelmingly as well.

Samantha Spencer ran unopposed for Zionsville Town Judge, a seat she took over in January from Erika Singler.

Election results will not be final until certified by Boone County Clerk Jessica Fouts.

Earlier in the day, Styron said she had bipartisan support.

“It meant something to a number of my supporters that wanted to be on the record saying ‘I’m a Republican supporting Emily for Zionsville,’” Styron said. “They actually asked for the signs and funded them, and we have about 55 placed all around town.

“I see that Zionsville has a lot of opportunities in front of us,” Styron said. “I’ve got skills and experience to help us realize some of our unmet needs.”

Turnout was heavy in Zionsville on election day.

Zionsville Town Hall voting center inspector Cecelia Kenna said town hall had a line all day, and the last ballot wasn’t cast until about 6:45 p.m. — nearly 45 minutes after the polls closed. Indiana law dictates that anyone in line when the polls close at 6 p.m. is allowed to vote.

Topics such as plans for the corner of Main and Sycamore streets, zoning variances, development at Creekside Corporate Business Park and traffic issues on Oak Street were among issues highlighted when candidates met during a forum last month.

Zionsville didn’t hold a primary election in May because there were no contested races, with only Republicans filing.

Haak was seeking a second term as mayor. He was the town’s first elected mayor, taking the oath of office in January 2016 after Zionsville reorganized with Perry Township to create the opportunity to remain a town with an elected mayor. At the time of the reorganization, then-board president Jeff Papa was appointed interim mayor until a mayor could be chosen by Zionsville voters. That opportunity came after the 2015 primary but before the general election for 2016, allowing for parties to put up a candidate for the general elections. The Republican party put Haak on the ballot, and no other party registered a candidate for the seat.

Both at-large council seats were filled by newcomers from a field of five candidates: Choi and Burk, were challenged by Democrats Bret G. Brewer and Kristine Towns, and Libertarian Michael I Kaminski.

In the race for the District 2 seat, Plunkett, a Republican, was challenged by Democrat Julie Johns-Cole. That seat is presently held by Kevin Spees, who did not file for reelection.

In other town council races, Culp faced Democrat Andrea Simmons for the District 4 seat presently held by Elizabeth Hopper, who is not returning.

Melton was one of two candidates for the District 3 seat being vacated by Tom Schuler. Democrat Tim Ottinger opposed him for the seat.

VOTER TURNOUT

Rain stayed away and voters came out to the municipal election, which historically has a poor turnout. This year’s turnout was 29.9 percent, and that was without a municipal election in Lebanon this year.

“The turnout’s been fantastic,” Burk, who was standing outside the town hall Tuesday morning said. “It’s been a heavy flow of people. I think it’s fantastic that they come out to vote in a municipal election on an off-presidential year.”

Burk attributed the turnout to the race between Haak and Styron, who said her six-month campaign was wonderful. She was talking to voters as they entered the Whitestown Municipal Complex.

“Zionsville is 70-miles big,” she said. “And a lot of it falls in areas that we may not necessarily assume. Stonegate, Royal Run, there’s a handful of neighborhoods with a lot of folks in them that live on this side of Zionsville.”

Haak said he wasn’t sure that his race was the motivating factor but maybe paired with the school referendums. The heavy turnout at Zionsville Town Hall did cause the grassy lot southeast of the parking lot to open for voter overflow parking.