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Republicans sweep contested Shelby County races

Rob Nolley, chairman of the Shelby County Republican Party, reads off election results Tuesday night at GOP headquarters, 106 E. Washington St.

By JEFF BROWN - jbrown@shelbynews.com

Shelby County voted red – emphatically.

The six contested races on Tuesday’s midterms election ballot in Shelby County all ended with Republican wins. And in the two statewide races that impacted Shelby County, Republicans also claimed victory.

“I felt pretty good going into the election but did I expect the margin of victory to be so big? No. It was mind boggling,” said Shelby County Republican Party Chairman Rob Nolley on Wednesday afternoon. 

Locally, Republican Jill Taylor was named Shelby County Clerk after receiving 67 percent of the 14,000-plus votes cast. She defeated Democrat Sherry Mohr.

Bradley Michael Rund earned 70 percent of the vote to defeat Donna Sipes for Shelby County Coroner.

The sheer number of votes cast surprised Nolley, who has been around local elections much of his life.

“I don’t know that I recall seeing that high a number before,” said Nolley of the 50.5 percent turnout at the polls. “The poll workers I talked to said it was steady all day.”

And despite polling problems in nearby counties, the voting process went smoothly in Shelby County.

With 75 percent of the votes cast, Ben Compton secured the Shelby County Council District 2 seat over David Patrick Hudson.

Tawnya Williams continued the Republican domination with a strong margin of victory over Shellie Ellison to earn the Shelby County Recorder position.

Taylor Sumerford Jr. was elected Shelby County Surveyor with 70 percent of the votes cast. He defeated Troy Gilles.

And James Montgomery was named Shelby County Trustee over Rebecca McComas.

“I really felt good about the contested races,” said Nolley. “We tried a non-traditional approach to campaigning which pointed a lot to social media. We tried to reach out to people and have conversations through social media.”

Republican Greg Pence was declared the winner of the District 6 race, handily defeating Democrat Jeannine Lee Lake and Libertarian candidate Tom Ferkinhoff. Pence replaces Luke Messer, who stepped down as the District 6 representative to run for Congress. He was eventually defeated by Mike Braun for the Republican nomination.

And in a race with national implications, Republican Mike Braun unseated incumbent Democratic Senator Joe Donnelly, receiving 52 percent of the more than two million votes cast. 

“I really wasn’t sure how that race would shake out,” admitted Nolley. “Indiana is a red state so I thought (Braun) had a chance. I didn’t put a whole lot of faith in the polls. Donnelly did an outstanding job of marketing himself as a middle of the road guy but I think he hurt himself with Indiana conservatives with the (Supreme Court Justice) Kavanaugh stuff.”