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Mayoral race passes halfway point; candidates gearing up for scramble to the finish

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA21) – We’ve reached the midway point of the city mayoral contest, and the two candidates vying for the office are counting on a wild ride the final 90 days of the campaign.

May 7th, Republican Tim Smith had a big smile on his face as he acknowledged cheers from supporters after his primary victory over city councilman Dr. John Crawford.

Mayor Tom Henry blew away his competition in the Democratic primary.

In the 13 weeks since, the candidates have been keeping a fairly low profile, working behind the scenes to get ready for what’s ahead.

“Recruiting volunteers, doing as much fund-raising as we’re able to do, really setting the foundation for the second half of the campaign,” Henry said.

“I am listening everywhere I go, all day long, listening to voters,” Smith said, as he described his campaign’s focus since May.

Voters about now will start hearing a lot more from the campaigns.

Henry unveiled his first TV ad this week.

In the primary, Smith went after Crawford hard, in mailers that summarized 20 years of Crawford on council as being harmful to Fort Wayne.

Smith says Henry has done some good things, but believes he can do better.

“You have to contrast your vision to what has been happening, if I thought everything was perfect, there would be no reason to run,” Smith said.

“Yes, we are prepared should he (Smith) come at us in a negative fashion, obviously, we have to defend ourselves aggressively and we will,” Henry said about the prospect of dealing with ads critical of his record.

Democrats have controlled the mayor’s office for 20 years.

Republicans in town desperately want to get a win this time around.

We’re told the cost of the race could approach or top $3-million, which would set a new mark for spending in that contest.



Jeff Neumeyer

Jeff Neumeyer is a reporter for WPTA.

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