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Six short months ago, Tony Mellencamp was deprived of the celebration which should have accompanied his primary election victory in his bid for an at-large seat on the Adams County Council.
His joy that night was muted after his wife, Kaye, was rushed to the hospital earlier in the day with a subarachnoid hemorrhage. Her chances of survival initially were set at 1 in 10.
Kaye Mellencamp was at her husband's side Tuesday evening as he topped a six-candidate field and helped usher a Republican sweep of three at-large county council seats up for grabs in this year's general election balloting. Mellencamp was joined by incumbents Dennis Bluhm and Randy Colclasure in sweeping the three seats. He will assume the seat being vacated at the end of the year by veteran council member Kenyon Sprunger, who did not seek re-election.
"I was a winner before the night ever started, because my wife is here with me," Mellencamp said after the general election votes were counted. "I am humbled by the support I received and I will serve everybody to the best of my ability."
Mellencamp, the owner of East of Chicago Pizza in Berne and current South Adams school board member, garnered 8,090 votes to lead the county council field, followed by Bluhm with 7,325 votes and Colclasure with 7,029.
He said he will relinquish his school board seat in December.
Leading the Democrats was former County Assessor Judy Affolder with 5,581 votes, former Berne Mayor John Minch with 5,284, and Dennis Hain with 3,153 votes.
Colclasure, who won his fourth term on the council, said he was "grateful and honored" at the support he received. "There were a lot of good candidates, and I feel blessed," he said.
Bluhm won his second term on the council. He thanked his family and county voters and said, "I hope to continue to earn the public's trust."
Affolder was disappointed in defeat, saying, "Obviously I wish the results were better. I'm sad that there are so many straight tickets. I wish people would use their heads more before casting a straight ticket."
Republican Deb Stimpson handily out-polled Democrat Marcy Koons 7,971-4,705 in a battle between two first-time candidates seeking the office of Adams County Recorder.
Stimpson won a three-way primary race in May to win the right to carry her party’s banner into November. She is employed by the Parks and Rec Department as office manager at Riverside Center.
Koons currently works as an administrative assistant in the county probation department.
Incumbent Republican Connie Mosier was barred by state term limit laws from seeking re-election.
Adams County Deputy Coroner Leslie Cook easily won a four-year term in Tuesday's general election balloting, posting a 8,746-4,051 win over Democrat Kristopher Burkhart. Cook had served two four-year terms, then was deputy coroner under her husband, Mark, the past four years.
Cook is a registered nurse and holds a certificate in forensic nursing. Burkhart, who resides in Monroe, is a registered paramedic and a 15-year member of the Monroe Fire Department.
79th HOUSE DISTRICTS
Republican Matt Lehman was elected to his third two-year term in the Indiana House of Representatives, handily defeating first-time candidate Mike Snyder during Tuesday's general election balloting.
Lehman, a conservative businessman from Berne, captured 64.7 percent of the votes cast in Adams County on Tuesday in the 79th House District race in out-polling Snyder 8,314-4,4520 in Adams County. Unofficial results from Wells County showed Lehman with a 6,366-2501 advantage there.
"It's been a privilege to serve the people of the 79th House District, and to have the opportunity to continue to serve them," Lehman said. "I look forward to helping to keep Indiana moving in the right direction."
Lehman first entered politics in 1994 when he was elected to the Adams County Council. He has served as the president of the council for eight years.
He has been a partner with Bixler Insurance Inc. for 21 years. He serves as chairman of the House Insurance Committee.
Snyder, a Democrat, has long been active in local, state and national politics and was making his first bid for elected office. The Decatur native has been employed at Bunge for 35 years and is the president of the United Steelworkers Local 15173.
Four candidates for countywide offices were elected without opposition during Tuesday's general election.
Incumbent Republicans Doug Bauman and Kim Fruechte were the lone candidates for the District 3 and District 1 seats, respectively, on the board of county commissioners.
District 3 encompasses Hartford, Wabash, Jefferson and a portion of Monroe townships — including Berne and Geneva. District 1 includes Union, Kirkland, Root and Preble townships and the city of Decatur.
Bauman captured 10,535 votes in Tuesday's balloting; Fruechte garnered 10,831 votes.
Also running unopposed were GOP auditor candidate Mary Beery and treasurer hopeful Tom Krueckeberg. State term limit laws prevented incumbent auditor Bill Borne and incumbent treasurer Rex Moore from seeking re-election.
Beery, who defeated fellow Republican Wes Kuntzman in the May primary election, polled 10,692 votes during Tuesday's election. Krueckeberg, who won his primary election contest against Ed Dyer, captured 10,591 votes.
In the town of Geneva, a pair of incumbent Republicans won re-election without opposition as Bill Warren and Richard Clutter were returned as the town's clerk-treasurer and District 1 councilman, respectively.
Warren claimed 416 votes and Clutter garnered 401 in Tuesday's balloting.