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Recount Panel Named In Columbus Council Race

A Bartholomew County judge has named the panel in charge of recounting a Columbus City Council race decided by just two votes in last month’s election.

Columbus City Hall Sign

Photo: WFIU News

If Frank Jerome wins the recount, the Columbus City Council will feature seven Republicans and no Democrats starting in January.

Bartholomew Circuit Judge Stephen Heimann Thursday announced former Democratic mayor Nancy Ann Brown, Republican Plan Commission member Roger Lang and local construction company owner Dean Claycamp will oversee the recount.  Claycamp was named to the committee under a provision that someone with knowledge of voting machines be the third member of the group.

If one vote is switched from Republican Frank Jerome to Democrat Greg Noel, the race is a dead heat and the Republican-dominated Columbus City Council gets to pick a winner.  But Bartholomew County Democratic Party Chair Jaimie Johns says because of what he calls a “heated election,” he doesn’t think it’s a shoo-in for Jerome if the recount shows the vote tallies to be even.

“The top of the ticket on the Republican side attacked the current Republican council,” Johns says. “Some of which the Democratic candidate attacked the Republican council.  So I don’t know that that’s necessarily going to be the case.”

Each party received one appointment to the recount panel, as did Judge Heimann. Republicans had hoped to appoint former mayor Bob Stewart, but when he was unavailable, Lang took his place.  The recount must be finished by December 20th.  Johns says the trio of appointees will decide on a method of recounting, but adds he hopes machine ballots will be recounted electronically and absentee ballots done by hand.

Stan Jastrzebski

WFIU/WTIU News Senior Editor Stan Jastrzebski spent time as a reporter with WGN Radio in Chicago and as an editor at Network Indiana, an Indianapolis news service. Stan is the winner of awards from the Associated Press, the RTDNA, the Indiana Broadcasters Association and the Society of Professional Journalists. He hosts WFIU's Ask the Mayor and anchors WTIU's InFocus.

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