Allen County Republicans took big wins in several marquee races Tuesday night, handily defeating Democratic challengers for seats in the Indiana General Assembly and Congress.
In a hard-fought race that went negative in the weeks leading up to Election Day, Republican Liz Brown easily defeated Democrat Jack Morris to win Indiana Senate District 15. The open seat formerly belonged to longtime Republican legislator, Tom Wyss, who opted not to seek another term.
The win marks a return to public service for Brown, who previously served on the Fort Wayne City Council before unsuccessfully running for mayor.
Brown won 59 percent of the vote, compared to 41 percent for Morris.
Meanwhile in House District 81, incumbent Rep. Martin Carbaugh defeated Democratic challenger, Thad Gerardot. Carbaugh won nearly 60 percent of the vote.
“We knocked on probably a thousand doors in the last three days and it proved to make a huge difference in the election,” Carbaugh said. “I’m just thrilled, just thrilled to serve again.”
The race for the 81st district was marked by early campaigning on TV by Carbaugh in the general election. Campaign finance reports show Carbaugh easily outspent his challenger.
For his part, Gerardot says he’s proud of his campaign and supporters. The 28-year-old Democrat actively courted the youth vote.
“I love to see younger people getting involved in their government,” Gerardot said. “I think a lot of younger voters were disenfranchised by having a super-majority in the state, and they definitely are calling for legislators that represent their issues.”
At the national level, incumbents swept all nine of Indiana’s U.S. House seats, including in Indiana’s 3rd Congressional District. Incumbent Rep. Marlin Stutzman won an easy victory in his third election.
The Republican, who has built a strong reputation among traditional and Tea Party conservatives, took 69 percent of the vote, handily beating Democrat Justin Kuhnle and Libertarian Scott Wise.
Stutzman says his victory came from a grassroots effort to reach out to new constituencies, including more voters in Fort Wayne and the district’s minority communities.
“I’ve really enjoyed meeting a lot of new folks over the past several months,” Stutzman said. “That’s been really important to me because I think, nationally, Republicans need to broaden ourselves as a brand and as a party.”
WBOI's Virginia Alvino contributed reporting to this story.