In 2021, Republican Marty Hawk will remain the sole Republican on the seven-member Monroe County council.
Voters returned incumbent Democrats Trent Deckard, Cheryl Munson and Geoff McKim to office with comfortable margins over the two Republicans on the ballot, James Allen and Larrin Wampler. It was the three at-large county council seats that were open this year, in a vote-for-up-to-three type race. The top three vote getters were elected.
In the race for county council, Deckard led with 32,055 votes (24.5 percent). Munson tallied 31,918 votes (24.3 percent). McKim rounded out the top three spots with 28,797 votes (22 percent).
Allen and Wampler received 20,234 votes (15.4 percent) and 17,782 votes (13.6 percent), respectively. Writing in the name of registered write-in candidate, Janna Arthur, were 324 voters. Arthur spoke up at several public meetings over the summer in support of reduced policing and reduced funding for law enforcement.
If the vote tallies for county council races seem a little light compared to other partisan races, it’s because under Indiana election law, straight-ticket votes don’t apply to vote-for-three type races. The party designation still appears next to the candidate names on the ballot, but a voter has to manually check the box to vote for a candidate in an at-large county council race.
If all 63,624 voters who cast a ballot in the general election had voted for three candidates in the county council race, that would have meant 190,872 total votes. But only 131,110 were tallied, leaving 58,466 undervotes or about 19,488 voters who did not vote in the at-large county council race.
Allen is a retired firefighter with the Bloomington Township’s fire department. Wampler is a nurse who manages the occupational health and industrial hygiene program for the Indiana National Guard and civilian personnel. When Zachary Weishheit withdrew from the race in June, Wampler was added to the ballot by the Monroe County Republican Party.
In a pattern similar to both races for circuit court judge, the two Republican candidates for county council had the top spots among Election Day in-person voters, with 24 and 21 percent for Allen and Wampler, respectively. Among Election Day voters, Deckard was the top Democrat, with 19.8 percent. Among early in-person voters and absentee voters, the Democrats were much stronger.
For total votes, Deckard demonstrated the strongest countywide appeal by finishing among the top three spots in all but two of the county’s 82 precincts. The two Republicans and Cheryl Munson left Deckard in fourth place in a couple of precincts in the southwest part of the county, which is Munson’s home turf.
Asked by The Square Beacon if he attributed his strong performance to any particular approach to his campaign, Deckard said the COVID-19 pandemic had ruined any thought of a campaign. He said it was difficult even to ask people to think about him, in the context of the extra demands the pandemic had placed on everyone. He said his basic approach was to “run like you’re gonna lose.” Deckard said he’d probably be looking at the results numbers in more detail.
This was the incumbent Deckard’s first time to be elected to the county council. He was appointed to the seat in January 2019 by the Monroe County Democratic Party, replacing Lee Jones who was elected to the board of county commissioners. He is a lecturer at IU-Bloomington’s Kelley School of Business.
McKim will be starting his fourth term as a county councilor, after first winning electing in 2008. He works in cybersecurity for nLogic.
Munson will be starting her third term on the county council. Before winning election to the county council, she served for 16 years on the Indian Creek Township board. Munson is an assistant scientist for Indiana University’s department of anthropology.