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DeBaun elected to third term as mayor

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Democratic Chairman Bob Williams, left, and Shelbyville mayor Tom DeBaun, right, look over early voting results Tuesday at the Brinson Building at the Shelby County Fairgrounds.
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Tom DeBaun hugs his daughters after learning he had won re-election for a third term as Shelbyville mayor.
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Supporters applaud once it was announced that Tom DeBaun had won re-election for a third term as mayor Tuesday evening.

By ROSS FLINT - rflint@shelbynews.com

A sense of relief washed over a tense room at the Brinson Building at the Shelby County Fairgrounds Tuesday evening when it was announced that Mayor Tom DeBaun had won re-election for a third term.

As cheers rang out among his supporters, the sleep-deprived DeBaun stood at a board, expressionless, scribbling down numbers as they were read aloud.

DeBaun defeated Republican challenger Brad Ridgeway with 1,527 votes to Ridgeway’s 1,326, earning another term as Shelbyville mayor. DeBaun said leading up to the election that it was his last time running and while his supporters joked prior to the results being announced about him running again in four years, he re-iterated that this was the last time.

DeBaun finally put down the marker that he used to write out all of the results once everything was announced to hug his children and visit with his supporters.

“I had a tremendous group of people who helped support me and the team,” he later said. “I can’t thank them enough.”

While he was pleased with the outcome, he was disappointed in the low voter turnout.

Of 12,724 registered voters in Shelbyville, 2,924, or not quite 23 percent, voted on Wednesday.

“I just wish the community was more engaged but again, I can’t complain with my results,” he said.

DeBaun was pleased with his outcome while at the same time disappointed that Frank Zerr was defeated by Scott Asher in the clerk-treasurer race and Jeff Wright lost to Tyson Conrady in the race for the city council’s Fifth Ward seat.

He said that there won’t be “any surprises” with his agenda as he prepares for a third term.

“I’ve been very open and honest with what I hope to accomplish in the next four years,” he said. “I don’t think the changes in the council will compromise that in any way because I’ve talked to Tyson in the past and I think I’ve got his support on that. It’ll be an adjustment but I think it’ll work just fine.”

Democratic chairman Bob Williams said he was pleased with DeBaun’s re-election.

“Tom’s been a good mayor,” he said. “He’s done a lot of good things for the city. He’s worked well with the county and the Republican council. It’s indicative of the job he’s done. We just hate it because Frank Zerr got defeated. He’s done an excellent job as clerk-treasurer. We got pretty much the same council, close to the same council. (DeBaun has) worked well with them and I’m sure he’ll work well with them again.”

The mayor, who has served Shelbyville or Shelby County in some capacity for more than 30 years, will continue his focus on redeveloping downtown Shelbyville.

First, though, he plans to meet with Conrady and Asher to bring them up to speed on what the administration is looking to do moving forward and get their input.

“No discredit to either of the opponents, with Frank or Jeff Wright, I didn’t know what to expect,” DeBaun said. “I’m certainly disappointed for Jeff and Frank and the respect they’ve been on the team, Frank for eight years, Jeff for four years. But again I’m confident I can work with Scott and Tyson without any issue.”