As two men finish the marathon of phone calls and door-knocking that is a campaign for mayor, at least a handful of others in New Albany know how they feel.

“They’ll be glad when it’s over with,” said Robert Real, Republican candidate in five of six mayoral campaigns from 1975 to 1995, three of them successful.

Warren Nash, a one-term Democratic mayor unseated by Real in 1975, agreed with his sentiment, guessing that Republican Randy Hubbard and Democrat Doug England are “anxious ... They want it to be over.”

Both men said they’ve closely followed the campaign, as has incumbent Mayor James Garner, who senses confidence in both camps.

“I think they each had their own poll and their own advisors and consultants ... Based on what I see them doing or not doing, they feel comfortable with their numbers that they’re both going to win,” Garner said. “I don’t know who’s going to win. To me, it’s a 50-50 race right now. In the past two months, based on public attitude, I had a feeling at one point that Randy was going to win, at another point that Doug was going to win, and now I’m at 50-50.”

Former mayors Chas Hunter, a Democrat, and Regina Overton, a Republican, could not be reached to comment for this report. The three who commented all noticed a slightly different discourse in this year’s campaign as compared to others.

“It’s been very different from the last two mayors races — it’s very, very low-key,” said Garner, edged out for the nomination by England in a three-way primary. “There’s little to no interaction of the candidates in any form. Sure, they had a forum last week, but they spoke separately. From that standpoint, it just seems to be the inability to get the two candidates together has created an environment of, you really don’t know where the candidates stand.”

Said Real, “The only big difference I see is all of the commotion that was made because Randy didn’t want to debate England. He had his reasons and I can understand them.”

Nash noticed the prevalence of argument by proxy.

“I think it’s probably been more in the letters to the editor and that type of thing, not from the candidates themselves, though,” said Nash, a former Democratic Party chairman. “I think there have been more negative letters.”

All three men say they’ll hew to party lines in voting for a new mayor.

England and Hubbard have said they haven’t picked their potential staffs yet, and the ex-mayors interviewed Friday said they operated the same way.

“No one wants to believe this, but you’re so busy campaigning that I didn’t even think about that,” Nash said. “There’s another day to think about that.”

“As far as I remember right now, I did not think too much about that until the election was over with,” Real said.

Garner “knew Shane [Gibson] would be my city attorney, I knew I would find a place for Tony [Toran], but other than those two I did not.”

As for his staff, Garner said, “I already know of people looking for [other] jobs. I don’t know who Doug will keep, I don’t know who Randy will let go.”

The current mayor said he hoped to see as strong a turnout as there was in 2003, “but based on this year’s primary, I’m not sure if we’re going to get that.”

Real and Nash said they didn’t know what to expect in the turnout department either.

“There’s a great deal of difference in votes from election to election,” Nash said. “That’s going to be the key for the whole thing.”



HOW YOU VOTED

• 1971: Democratic challenger Warren Nash defeats Republican incumbent Garnett Inman, 9,097 to 6,180. Total votes: 15,277

• 1975: Republican challenger Robert Real defeats Nash, 9,264 to 4,763. Total votes: 14,027

• 1979: Real defeats Democratic challenger John Stein, 6,637 to 3,801. Total votes: 10,438

• 1983: Democratic challenger Charles Hunter defeats Real, 6,148 to 5,888. Total votes: 12,036

• 1987: Real defeats Hunter, 6,005 to 5,467. Total votes: 11,472

• 1991: Democrat Doug England (4,785) defeats independent Phyllis Garmon (4,154) and Republican Kenny Keilman (2,344). Total votes: 11,283

• 1995: England defeats Real, 6,573 to 5,628. Total votes: 12,201

• 1999: Republican challenger Regina Overton defeats England, 5,512 to 4,205. Total votes: 9,717

• 2003: Democratic challenger James Garner defeats Overton, 5,968 to 3,893. Total votes: 9,861

Source: Tribune archives

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