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Gary voters pick Melton in Democratic mayoral contest

Photo caption: STATE SEN. EDDIE MELTON meeting with members of the Gary Fire Department during his victory rally Tuesday, May 2, 2023. After defeating incumbent Mayor Jerome Prince, Melton will now go forward and face the winner of the Republican primary on Tuesday, November 7, 2023. (Photo by Ted Brown)

Gary Mayor Jerome Prince tops the list of 3 Gary public officeholders who failed to win enough votes to put them in November’s General Election.

Indiana State Senator Eddie Melton came out on top in the 2-man Democratic Primary contest for Gary mayor, with nearly 60% of the votes cast. As of 10 p.m. Tuesday, the Lake County Election & Registration Board reported Melton leading with 6,352 votes to Prince’s 4,438.

Mayor Prince told supporters at his campaign headquarters, “This is my 10th race in 23 years and is the toughest assignment ever. I implore you to work with the mayor-elect. I have 7 more months; we’ve started a lot of good stuff so we have a lot of work to do.”

Gary City Councilman for the 2nd District David Fossett also failed to make the cut, losing to Dwayne Halliburton, a former Indiana State Trooper. Fossett came in third in the 6-candidate race.

Gary City Councilman William Godwin did not seek to retain his 1st District seat, instead running for Council At-Large. Godwin came in 4th in the contest where voters could pick three candidates.

Voters returned Ron Brewer and Darren Washington, 2 of the three incumbent Council At-Large officeholders. The 3rd slot went to Mark Spencer, Director of the West Side Theater Guild and employed by the Gary Community School Corporation.

Lori Latham, currently a Gary Council At-Large member, was on the ballot in the 1st District race. Latham won with 37% of the vote in the 6-candidate race.

In the 3rd District race, incumbent Mary Brown will remain the councilwoman with 47% of the vote.

Tai Adkins won the 4th District City Council seat with 68% of the vote against her opponent Ebony Miller.

The 5th District City Council seat was won by Linda Barnes-Caldwell with nearly 60% of the vote.

In Gary’s City Council 6th District race Dwight A. Williams won with 56% of the vote.

Gary City Clerk Suzette Raggs and Gary City Judge Deidre Monroe were uncontested.

In predominantly Democratic Gary, a win in the primary assures a win in November.

Early in the evening at Melton’s election night party, former State Sen. Earline Rogers was confident of a Melton win. She wasn’t counting on a large voter turnout needed for Melton to defeat Mayor Prince. “I know who my people are voting for,” Rogers said.

In fact, the 10,000-plus vote tally of last night’s mayoral contest is nearly 4,000 fewer votes than in the 2019 Democrat Primary Gary mayoral race when Prince defeated Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson.

Sen. Melton, now in his second term, was Rogers’s anointed successor when she stepped down in 2015 after more than 30 years in the Indiana legislature.

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