Freeman-Wilson Ousted in Gary
(GARY, Ind.) - Mayors in Indiana's biggest cities cruised to renomination Tuesday -- with one giant exception.
Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson lost her bid for a third term to Lake County Assessor Jerome Prince, who beat her 48-38% in a nine-way race. The former city councilman campaigned on a platform of combating Gary's chronic crime problems and revitalizing Gary's public schools. Prince is unopposed in the general election, though Republicans and third parties have until the end of June to find a candidate in the heavily Democratic city.
Prince's upset victory comes less than two weeks after what Freeman-Wilson hailed as a "transformative" project for Gary, with legislators approving the move of Gary's casino to a downtown location to make way for new lakefront development. Governor Holcomb will announce Wednesday whether he'll sign or veto the bill.
Freeman-Wilson was the exception on a night which saw landslide victories for Democratic mayors Joe Hogsett in Indianapolis, Tom Henry in Fort Wayne and John Hamilton in Bloomington, as well as Evansville Republican Lloyd Winnecke.
Henry will face MedPro insurance executive Tim Smith in November. Smith defeated City Councilman John Crawford 56-42% in the Republican primary.
In South Bend, the city's community investment director James Mueller rode the endorsement of incumbent mayor and Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg to a 38-26% victory over former Saint Joseph County Democratic Chairman Jason Critchlow in a nine-way race. Mueller faces Republican Sean Haas in the general election.
Anderson Mayor Tom Broderick won his primary by a two-to-one margin, but won't get a rematch with Republican predecessor Kevin S. Smith -- Madison County Auditor Rick Gardner ended Smith's comeback bid 46-41%.
Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson (D,right) with Terre Haute Mayor Duke Bennett (Photo: Eric Berman/WIBC)