The new Indiana General Assembly will again include three physicians, including the first doctor in the Senate in 12 years, and an incumbent whose apparent election-night defeat has tentatively turned to victory.
Tyler Johnson, DO (R-Leo) captured 61% of the vote to win the Senate seat of retiring Sen. Dennis Kruse (R-Auburn). He’ll be the first doctor in the Senate since Gary Dillon, MD (R-Columbia City) retired in 2010.
Rep. Brad Barrett, MD (R-Richmond), who chairs the House Public Health Committee, won reelection to a third term with 70% of the vote.
The third physician in the legislature, Rep. Rita Fleming, MD (D-Jeffersonville), appeared on Election Night to have lost her bid for a third term to Jeffersonville City Councilman Scott Hawkins. But Clark County election officials announced two days later that nearly 1,800 absentee ballots from across the county had failed to tabulate when fed into the machine. The county election board retallied ballots Nov. 11, adding more than a thousand votes in Fleming’s district and lifting her to an apparent 225-vote win, 51-49%.
The count is still unofficial until any provisional and military ballots are added, and until election boards in Clark and Floyd counties certify the totals. Hawkins has indicated he plans to challenge the results.
The only other doctor on the legislative ballot, ISMA Vice Speaker Alex Choi, MD (R-Zionsville), lost 52-48% in his challenge to Sen. J.D. Ford (D-Carmel).
Overall, the balance of power in the new General Assembly will change only slightly. Fleming’s apparent win narrows Republicans’ House supermajority by one seat to 70-30, while Senate Republicans expanded their supermajority by one seat to 40-10, with Lake County Council member Dan Dernulc (R-Highland) unseating Sen. Michael Griffin (D-Highland).
Voters ousted Rep. Terri Austin (D-Anderson) in favor of Republican Kyle Pierce, while Democrats captured two open House seats created by redistricting, with victories in Carmel for Victoria Garcia Wilburn and in Fort Wayne for Kyle Miller.
‘The Clinic’ podcast: Election Recap
What do the results of the midterm elections mean for physicians and patients in Indiana? Find out on the latest episode of ISMA’s “The Clinic” podcast. ISMA’s Eric Berman once again welcomes former WISH-TV political reporter Jim Shella, IndyPolitics.org founder and editor Abdul-Hakim Shabazz, and ISMA Vice President of Government Relations John Ruckelshaus.
Episodes of “The Clinic” are available at www.ismanet.org/podcast
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