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The Journal Gazette

Sunday, December 09, 2018 1:00 am

State sees highest midterm turnout since '94

NIKI KELLY and BRIAN FRANCISCO | The Journal Gazette

Hoosiers turned out in droves to vote last month.

Secretary of State Connie Lawson last week announced that 51 percent, or 2,308,258 of Indiana's 4.5 million registered voters, cast votes in the Nov. 6 general election.

“This is the highest midterm turnout in over two decades,” Lawson said. “The last time we saw a midterm with turnout in the 50s was in 1994. Both of these election cycles highlight how candidates and issues drive higher turnout in elections.”

Henry County had the highest turnout in the state at 64 percent. It was followed by Spencer County at 62 percent.

Locally, Adams, Wells and Whitley counties hit 60 percent. Allen came in at 49 percent.

The lowest turnout in the state belonged to Madison and Vigo counties at 44 percent each.

Early-voting popularity continued to soar. In 2014, only 16 percent of voters cast a ballot early. This year, that doubled to 32 percent.

Holcomb tapped for national role

Gov. Eric Holcomb is the new 2019 policy chairman of the Republican Governors Association, an organization that works to elect Republican governors across the country.

Holcomb was elected by his fellow GOP governors while attending the association's conference in Arizona.

He joined the association's executive committee last year, and with his selection as policy chairman, Holcomb will take an expanded role in the organization. He will be responsible for elevating policies that Republican governors are bringing to Americans in states across the country.

“Over the past decade-plus in Indiana, we've experienced the results of strong Republican leadership,” he said. “We've got more Hoosiers working than ever before, and that's while we're balancing budgets, making record infrastructure investments, helping Hoosiers build job-ready skills and attacking the drug epidemic.

“As policy chairman of the RGA, I'm excited to help shine the spotlight on Indiana's results-driven approach and the proven policies that can be taken to states nationwide.”

Judge serenades Linda Bloom

Outgoing Allen County Commissioner Linda Bloom was honored Friday with a song.

Literally. Allen Superior Court Judge Stanley Levine serenaded Bloom, who will retire at the end of the month, with a rendition of “My Funny Valentine” from the Rodgers and Hart musical “Babes in Arms.”

Bloom is retiring after 40 years in public service. She will be replaced by Republican Commissioner-elect Rich Beck.

Before he began to croon, Levine read a statement signed by all Allen County judges thanking Bloom for her service. Levine described Bloom as a true and faithful friend to the Allen Superior Court.

“Her devotion to the courthouse and the judiciary has been exemplary,” Levine said. “The latest renovation to courtroom 107 would not have been completed without the advice and support of Linda Bloom and would not look as beautiful as it does without (her) taste and expertise.”

Video of Levine singing to Bloom can be found at https://bit.ly/2L4jktc.

Democrats plan open house

The Allen County Democratic Party will have a holiday open house Friday at its headquarters at 7301 Decatur Road in Fort Wayne.

The open house will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Hor d'oeuvres will be served.

Dave Gong of The Journal Gazette contributed to this column.

To reach Political Notebook by email, contact Brian Francisco at bfrancisco@jg.net or Niki Kelly at nkelly@jg.net. An expanded Political Notebook can be found as a daily blog at www.journalgazette.net/politicalnotebook.