Sgambelluri takes city council District 2 over Guenther by 26-point margin

Spirits were high Tuesday night at Monroe County Democratic Party headquarters on Madison Street. Both Democrats in the only contested races for Bloomington’s municipal elections hand just won seats on the city council in 2020. Ron Smith won a three-way race in District 3.

Sue Sgambelluri won her race in District 2 against Republican Party nominee Andrew Guenther. She received 365 votes (63 percent) to Guenther’s 218 (37 percent). That included a plurality for Sgambelluri in each of the district’s six precincts, among early voters and Election Day voters alike.

The closest tally inside the district was the one-vote margin in Bloomington 14 precinct among Election Day voters—Guenther had 19 votes compared to Sgambelluri’s 20. Continue reading “Sgambelluri takes city council District 2 over Guenther by 26-point margin”

District 3 city council race: 2-point margin for Democrat Ron Smith over independent Kappas

The three-way race on the ballot for Bloomington’s city council District 3 seat wound up a close two-way contest between Democratic Party nominee Ron Smith and independent Nick Kappas. Independent Marty Spechler was a distant third.

Just 23 votes, or 2.4 percentage points, separated Smith from Kappas. Smith received 448 votes (46.3 percent), Kappas 425 votes (43.9 percent), and Spechler 95 votes (9.8 percent).

Of the seven precincts in District 3, Kappas won four of them. Kappas had 20 more votes than Smith among voters who cast ballots on Election Day—Kappas tallied 354 votes, compared to 334 for Smith. But Smith had a bigger advantage among voters who cast their ballots early—Smith got 114 of those votes compared to 71 for Kappas. Continue reading “District 3 city council race: 2-point margin for Democrat Ron Smith over independent Kappas”

Alea iacta est: Bloomington election results, as served

Here’s where The Beacon will post incremental results from the Nov. 5, 2019 municipal election, as they become available directly from the Monroe County clerk’s office, in reverse chronological order. [Update with Final Result: Sue Sgambelluri wins District 2. Smith wins District 3.]

for beacon Election Results Labeled R Map 2019 Bloomington City ElectionsDistrictRepsxxxx copy Continue reading “Alea iacta est: Bloomington election results, as served”

Buckle up, Bloomington, it’s Election Day!

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Arlington Heights Elementary School, where voters in the Bloomington 14 precinct cast their ballots shortly after polls opened at 6 a.m. on Nov. 5, 2019. (Dave Askins/Beacon)

The polls for Bloomington’s municipal elections opened today “without incident,” according to an email sent out by Monroe County’s clerk, Nicole Browne.

For a last-minute overview of candidates and the background for the cancelled elections in all but two of Bloomington’s six city council districts, check out The Beacon’s voter’s guide.

Here are some quick links to candidate profiles:

District 2

District 3

The Beacon will try to tour all of the nine polling locations for District 2 and District 3 today. Timestamped updates to this post will be filed from each polling place. Continue reading “Buckle up, Bloomington, it’s Election Day!”

Bloomington’s municipal elections: 12 hours left on Election Day to make up for light early voting

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Monroe County’s election board met on Monday evening at Election Central at 7th and Madison streets (Note the white board note: “Countdown to 2019 Municipal Elections 1 day”) The board’s business on Election Day Eve included certifying a list of 28 incomplete registrations. From left are the three election board members: Hal Turner, Carolyn VandeWiele, and Monroe County’s clerk, Nicole Brown. Behind the counter is deputy clerk Tressia Martin and election supervisor Karen Wheeler. (Dave Askins/Beacon)

Early voting at Election Central in Bloomington’s municipal elections ended Monday at noon.

Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 5. Polls are open for twelve hours, from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Based on early voting totals, the lack of competition in citywide races and four of the six council districts looks like it could be having the kind of negative impact on turnout that was predicted, especially in District 3.

Compared to 2015’s numerical count of early vote totals, District 2 is down this year by 14 percent. District 3 is down 58 percent. Continue reading “Bloomington’s municipal elections: 12 hours left on Election Day to make up for light early voting”

Bloomington city council candidate forum: Indiana University connections

Last Monday (Oct. 29) all five candidates in Bloomington’s city council elections—held only in District 2 and District 3 this year—appeared on Indiana University’s campus. They participated in a forum hosted by The Civil Society at Indiana University. Moderators were students Meredith Karbowsky and Tyler Combs.

The event was held in Woodburn Hall, Room 004, in the lower level of the building, which features slate chalkboards and auditorium-style seats, bolted to the floor, with built-in swing-up tablet arms.

The venue itself got a mention in their introductory remarks from two of the candidates. District 3 independent candidate Marty Spechler told the group he is an emeritus professor of economics at the university—and he’d taught classes in the room. District 2 Republican candidate Andrew Guenther, a recent graduate of the school, said he was glad to be back in the room, where he’d just recently taken political science classes.

Guenther’s opponent in District 2, Democrat Sue Sgambelluri, also holds a degree from IU and works as development director for the college of arts and sciences. In District 3, the other two candidates, Democrat Ron Smith and independent Nick Kappas, also have connections to IU through degrees they earned there.

Most questions asked by moderators were either directly or indirectly connected to the university.

Candidates were asked how they would strike the balance between representing student interests and representing the interest of Bloomington locals. They were also asked how they would ensure student access to quality housing. Based on some recent shootings that did not prompt IU Notify alerts, candidates got a question about how they’d maintain and improve public safety in Bloomington.

Climate change was topic that candidates were asked about, which was not prompted by a university-specific connection.

Earlier reporting on the forum by The Beacon covered the topic of white supremacism as it relates to Bloomington’s farmers market.

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From left: District 2 candidates Andrew Guenther and Sue Sgambelluri; moderators Meredith Karbowsky and Tyler Combs; District 3 candidates Marty Spechler, Ron Smith, and Nick Kappas. (Dave Askins/Beacon)

Continue reading “Bloomington city council candidate forum: Indiana University connections”

Key topics for District 3 city council race forum: convention center, transportation

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From left, Bloomington  District 3 city council candidates: Ron Smith, Nick Kappas and Marty Spechler. (Dave Askins/Beacon)

At a forum held on Wednesday night for Bloomington city council candidates in District 3, an audience of around a dozen Bell Trace residents heard from the three candidates who are on this year’s ballot: Nick Kappas (independent), Ron Smith (Democrat), and Marty Spechler (independent).

Bell Trace is a senior living community on the city’s east side. Residents had questions about two specific topics: transportation and a planned convention center expansion downtown.

The timing for those topics squares up with a couple of public meetings planned before the end of the month, on Oct. 29. One is the kickoff to a series of meetings hosted by Bloomington Transit about a proposed new route configuration, which has been studied for more than a year.

Another meeting set for Oct. 29 is a joint meeting of the city council and the county council about the plans for the expanded convention center.

All three candidates expressed support for the convention center expansion. Mayor John Hamilton, who was having dinner at Bell Trace with his mother-in-law, dropped by the forum to express his support for fellow Democratic Party primary winner Ron Smith. Hamilton was also asked about the convention center. He said he was “a little worried” about it, but was confident that it would move forward. Continue reading “Key topics for District 3 city council race forum: convention center, transportation”

Zietlow to election board on its decision against elections: “Voting is the primary duty of citizens in a democracy.”

At Thursday afternoon’s meeting of Monroe County’s election board, a question decided by the board two months ago was again raised in front of the three-member body: Should municipal elections be held on Nov. 5 in Bloomington, even in districts where none of the races are contested?

On Thursday, the question was brought up during public commentary by Charlotte Zietlow, whose impact on the political life of Monroe County dates back at least to 1972, when she took a seat on the Bloomington city council, which was followed eight years later by her election to the county’s board of commissioners.

Zietlow’s answer: Yes, elections should be held even where races are uncontested.  Continue reading “Zietlow to election board on its decision against elections: “Voting is the primary duty of citizens in a democracy.””