Following a nationwide trend, voters came out in force for the 2020 general election with a record number casting their ballots in Clinton County.
In all, 13,107 voters cast ballots in the election for a voter turnout of 65.08 percent of the county’s 20,140 registered voters. That is in comparison to a previous high in 2016 when 12,191 out of 20,529 registered voters cast their ballots in Clinton County for a voter turnout of 59 percent.
Clinton County also set a new record of 9,064 absentee ballots. Of those, 7,685 were in-person absentee ballots and 1,379 were mail-in absentee ballots. Meanwhile, the number of voters casting ballots on Election Day in Clinton County fell to 4,043 – down from 6,189 on Election Day in 2016.
Of the 5,048 straight-party votes in Clinton County this year, 4,171 voted Republican while 873 voted Democrat, and four voted Libertarian.
President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence received 75.02 percent of the vote in Clinton County while Democratic opponents Joe Biden and Kamala Harris received 25.93 percent of the vote.
In the race for the District 4 seat in the U.S. House of Representative, Jim Baird received 73.89 percent of the vote in Clinton County compared to 26.03 percent for Democratic challenger Joe Mackey.
“I am humbled and honored that Hoosiers of Indiana’s 4th Congressional District voted for me to continue as their voice in Congress,” read a statement released by Congressman Baird just after 9 p.m. Tuesday night. “During the next two years, I will continue working toward solutions for families impacted by the ongoing pandemic, helping my fellow veterans and expanding rural broadband. Our communities are a special place where we value kindness and honesty. I will continue my commitment to lead with civility and conviction. In the midst of partisanship, let us never forget we are all Americans that must unify for the good of our Nation.”
Governor Eric Holcomb received 61.83 percent of the vote in Clinton County, ahead of Libertarian challenger Donald Rainwater at 19.5 percent and Democratic challenger Dr. Woody Myers at 18.66 percent. Todd Rokita was the county’s choice for Attorney General, garnering 72.87 percent of the vote over Democrat Jonathan Weinzapfel at 27.13 percent. State Senator Brain Buchanan was the choice of 75.49 percent of county voters for retaining his District 7 seat, defeating Tabitha Bartley (24.51) while Clinton County remained deep red with Donald Lehe (75.25) over Alex Sabol (24.75) for State Representative for District 25 and Heath R. VanNatter (73.83) over Tom Hedde (26.17) for State Representative for District 38.
Local winners of this year’s primary election nearly all ran unopposed in the general election. The only local results decided on Election Day were on the Clinton Central School Board where Joshua Davison earned 63.86 percent of the vote to defeat Kirk Long (36.14) in the race for the District 9 seat, and Amy Shoup Mennen earned 73.76 percent of the vote to defeat Gavin Alexander Wellman (26.24) in the race for the District 11 seat.
Clinton County Clerk Rhea Harris said that – other than an arrest at a polling place in Mulberry on Halloween – voting and processing ballots went smoothly in the county.
“I think things went very smoothly,” Harris said. “Every election has its quirks and its struggles, but we try to think ahead. We met early and tried to think of things that maybe we would have to deal with early and worked to that end so that we could take care of any issue that might arrive that may cause a hinderance or bog us down. So, we tired to work smarter, not harder, and it helped in a lot of ways.
“We know it is a big election no matter the political climate,” she continued. “It is always extra work, so we used the experience and knowledge that we have, and I think that worked well. I think the voters are more aware this year. I think they were more knowledgeable concerning absentee in-person and out other options. So, we had a tremendous amount who voted in-person and by mail absentee. That took a burden off Election Day and made it easier for the voters and for us.”