By DANIEL SUDDEATH
> SOUTHERN INDIANA —
Rep. Ed Clere is returning to Indianapolis after defeating Democratic challenger Shane Gibson Tuesday is the District 72 state representative race.
Clere — a Republican first elected to the Statehouse in 2008 — captured just less than 58 percent of Floyd County where the majority of District 72 is located.
He tallied 12,319 votes unofficially in Floyd compared to Gibson’s 8,956. Clere said he was unsure going into the election how the race would end, adding that he’s humbled by the results.
“I owe a great debt of gratitude to hundreds of volunteers, supporters and to everyone who had the confidence to vote for me,” Clere said. “It’s been a difficult race. I’ve been a target since the day I was first elected two years ago.”
The negative advertisements and mailers that became prevalent in the race impacted some voters, Clere said.
“I think at this point, we just need to move forward,” he said. “I like to think that because of my efforts to communicate with my constituents and to listen to them, that I was able to establish a level of trust that served as a buffer against some of the negative attacks.”
Clere said the next two years will be different, as Republicans were expected to seize control of the House. It will provide Clere the opportunity to sponsor legislation — a role he said was limited by the Democratic leadership during his first term.
“As a state, we have difficult days ahead. There are positive signs, but we’re still coming out of a very tough time and we have a lot of difficult, challenging work ahead,” Clere said.
Gibson did carry the only Clark County precinct in District 72. He received 118 votes in Clark versus 83 for Clere. There are provisional ballots remaining to be counted but election officials didn’t anticipate there would be enough to sway the race.
Republicans ruled the night in Floyd County, winning every challenged race in the county at the local, state and national level according to the unofficial results.
Gibson said “it was a tough year to be a Democrat.”
He said he personally congratulated Clere on his victory. Gibson added that he will return to his job as New Albany City Attorney, and that he will take with him positive memories from the race.
“It was a great experience. I enjoyed it immensely, [but] obviously I’m disappointed in the outcome,” Gibson said.