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(INDIANAPOLIS) – Republicans are celebrating a record 70 wins in races for mayor across Indiana, but Democrats say they’ve got plenty to celebrate too.

Democrats have been cutting into traditionally Republican suburbs nationally, and saw the same effect in Indiana, winning the Zionsville mayor’s race and three city council seats in Carmel and Fishers. State Chairman John Zody boasts Democrats made a conscious effort to recruit a younger and more diverse slate of candidates, and saw results, with Democratic women now comprising a majority of the South Bend City Council. The party won control of the Columbus City Council, and added council seats in each of the state’s six largest cities. And Zody says the younger faces have the potential to give Democrats beachheads for decades of future races.

Democrats had a net loss of seven mayors’ seats, including the two largest cities to change hands, Muncie and Kokomo. Zody argues their new lineup of cities covers more Hoosiers than the Republican cities, by a slightly larger margin than after the last election. Democrats lead the state’s largest city, Indianapolis, and three of the top four. 

Republicans note the 70 city halls they’ll now hold are a record for the party, as is the 23-seat advantage over Democrats. Independents won in four cities. And while Democrats made inroads in suburbs, Republicans chalked up big wins in rural areas. And in once union-dominated Kokomo, they not only reclaimed the mayor’s office after 12 years, but captured the entire city council. Zody concedes the city has undergone a political realignment.

But Zody says the wins in Carmel, Fishers and Zionsville are buttressed by mayoral victories in Tipton, Anderson, and Elwood, and a sweep of City-County Council races in northern Marion County. He says all those results reinforce Democrats’ hopes of winning the seat of retiring Republican Congresswoman Susan Brooks next year.

Indiana Democratic Chairman John Zody (Photo: Eric Berman/WIBC)