Sen. Mike Delph
Sen. Mike Delph
By BRIAN A. HOWEY

INDIANAPOLIS - In an election where the Indiana Democratic Party had to make serious inroads into Republican General Assembly super majorities to regain relevance, beyond J. D. Ford’s defeat of State Sen. Mike Delph, the effort came up short. With 94% reporting, Ford had a more than a 3,000 vote lead, ahead 53-47%. It was a rematch from their 2014 race and gave Democrats a chance to claim a 10th seat.

In the Indiana House, Democrat Chris Campbell had a 59-41% lead over State Rep. Sally Siegrist, with 50% of precincts reporting. In another off-the-radar close call, Democrat State Rep. Melanie Wright had 339-vote victory over Republican Ben Fisher. Democrat Rep. Joe Taylor had less than a 50-vote lead over Republican Troy Dillon in a seat not on the radar. Democrat Kyle Miller was trailing State Rep. Martin Carbaugh by just 399 votes with 53% of precincts reporting.

Other close races were taking place between State Reps. Hal Slager in HD15 in a dogfight with Democrat Chris Chyung, and Rep. Julie Olthoff was in a tight race with Democrat Lisa Beck.

As of 11:30 Tuesday, Democrats had the potential of picking up four or five House seats.

Other Democratic efforts came up short. Sen. Jim Merritt defeated Democrat Derek Camp 55-45%. In another targeted race, State Sen. Jon Ford was easily turning back Democrat Chris Gambill, 56-44% with 85% reporting. Sen. Ron Grooms easily fended off Democrat Anna Murray 57-43% with 56% reporting.

In the open SD26, Madison County Councilman Mike Gaskill was defeating Anderson Fire Chief Dave Cravens, 57-39% with 90% reporting. In another open seat, Republican Linda Rogers downed Democrat Ed Liptrap 64-36%. Senate Minority Leader Tim Lanane defeated Republican Zaki Ali 52-44%.

In other House races, Rep. Dale Devon was turning back a challenge from Dr. Donald Westerhausen, 54-46% with 83% of precincts reporting. State Rep. Cindy Kirchhofer was leading John Barnes 55-45% with 89% reporting.

Democrat Tonya Pfaff won an open seat in HD43, defeating Republican Darrell Felling. Republican Ryan Lauer won the open HD59, defeating Dale Nowlin 57-41%.

Both House leaders were easily reelected. Speaker Brian Bosma was leading Democrat Poonam Gill 59-41% with 93% of precincts in. Democrat Minority Leader Terry Goodin also won easily.

Developing . . . .