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The Journal Gazette

  • John Crawford, left, shakes hands with Tim Smith at Allen County Republican Headquarters on Tuesday. Smith defeated Crawford in the primary and will face Mayor Tom Henry in the general election. (Mike Moore | The Journal Gazette)

  • Henry

Wednesday, May 08, 2019 1:00 am

Smith, Henry face off for mayor

Exec gets 56% of GOP vote to top Crawford

DAVE GONG | The Journal Gazette

MedPro executive Tim Smith will face Mayor Tom Henry in a Summit City showdown this year.

Smith won 56% of the vote to defeat John Crawford Tuesday for the Republican Fort Wayne mayoral nomination.

Smith said he plans to mount a spirited campaign against Henry, who will seek a fourth consecutive term. Smith also described Crawford as “an A+ city councilman for over 20 years.”

“Tom Henry has never seen a campaign like we are about to launch for the general election,” Smith told a large crowd of supporters at Allen County Republican Party Headquarters. “Tom Henry has never run against a person with my background and my energy, but more importantly with the energy of this room and the collective skills and talents of everybody in this room.”

The Republican primary race for mayor was expensive, with both candidates spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on advertising, marketing and consulting work. There was even some contention between Smith and Crawford who found Smith's ad to be overtly negative. 

However, the calm and measured Crawford was magnanimous in defeat, congratulating Smith on a hard-fought campaign. 

“Obviously he ran a very well-run campaign,” Crawford said. “At this point, we left it all on the field, we worked as hard as we possibly could and we have no regrets.” 

Crawford, an oncologist and City Council president, received 6,776 total votes. Smith, vice president of operations and information technology at MedPro, a health care liability insurance company, received 9,065 votes.

Henry handily defeated challengers Gina Burgess and Tommy Schrader, receiving 89% of the votes cast. Burgess got 11% and Schrader came away with just shy of 3% of the votes cast. 

“I want to thank the citizens of Fort Wayne for allowing me the opportunity to once again be candidate for mayor of this great city,” Henry said in a statement. “I love this city and all of its positive momentum.”

However, Henry said the city cannot stop now, as “there is work to be done.”

Smith said his campaign is about “faith, family and Fort Wayne.” 

“From the beginning this race was about Fort Wayne. It was about making Fort Wayne the safest, smartest, strongest city in the Midwest,” Smith said. “And that we will do starting in November.” 

Henry applauded Smith and Crawford for their campaigns. 

“I congratulate Tim Smith on his victory this evening and I look forward to a positive, spirited campaign,” Henry said. “I also want to thank John Crawford for his years of service to our community. He ran a strong campaign.” 

Henry and Smith will face each other in the Nov. 5 general election. 

dgong@jg.net