FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA21) – Democrat Tom Henry has secured another four years in office.
ABC21 made the formal projection with 68% of precincts reporting and Henry’s vote total nearly 25 points ahead of Republican challenger Tim Smith.
BREAKING: ABC21 has projected incumbent Democrat Tom Henry to win another four years in office.
With 68% of precincts reporting, Henry has the support of about 2/3 of voters over Republican challenger Tim Smith. https://t.co/qlOu9FtQlY
— ABC21 WPTA News (@ABC21WPTA) November 5, 2019
When the final precincts had weighed in, Henry had 61 percent of the vote to Smith’s 39 percent. The incumbent flew out to a double-digit lead when early voting results were released and never looked back.
It was a comfortable margin in a race that had been considered highly competitive by many analysts.
In October, Henry told ABC21 that a fourth term as mayor – if granted by voters – would be his last. He was first elected to that office in 2007, having served previously on the City Council.
His success at the ballot box in recent elections came even as the GOP filled the majority of seats on the City Council.
Henry’s message throughout the campaign was built largely around progress in downtown Fort Wayne – and a pledge to continue those efforts.
But while his challenger acknowledged successes such as Promenade Park, he pushed back hard on the incumbent’s claims regarding crime and safety.
Smith, an executive with MedPro Group, a healthcare liability insurance company, challenged statistics put forth by the mayor, calling them cherry-picked and misleading.
The back-and-forth on crime dominated the final weeks of the campaign, which will go down as the most expensive mayoral race in the City’s history.
Fort Wayne, which is Indiana’s second-most populous city, has not had a Republican mayor since Paul Helmke, who left office at the end of 1999 and who is the only GOP mayor here since the 1970s.
Gov. Eric Holcomb – himself, up for reelection next year – was among the GOP leaders who lined up behind Smith in an effort to flip the Fort Wayne mayor’s seat to red.