News From Terre Haute, Indiana

October 26, 2007

Editor's Note: As election nears, the spotlight gets hotter

TERRE HAUTE — The degree of interest in any election among potential voters — who also happen to be all newspapers’ avid and loyal readers — is always most intense the last two weeks of a political campaign. That’s why we target the majority of our pre-election coverage to the final 10 days or so before voters go to the polls.

For this year’s Terre Haute municipal election, our extensive coverage of the candidates and the issues driving the campaign will kick off on Sunday with an in-depth review of the upcoming mayoral race.

In the past, mayoral races have often been decided in the spring Democratic primary because of the inability of the local Republican Party to generate viable candidates. There has not been a Republican mayor in Terre Haute since Leland Larrison served one term in the late 1960s. The closest any Republican came to ending that drought was George Ralston, who put a scare into the Democratic machine headed by Mayor Pete Chalos in 1991.

Republicans have a strong mayoral candidate in Duke Bennett this year, and that has kept interest in the mayoral race higher than it otherwise would have been, especially since incumbent Mayor Kevin Burke easily defeated his primary opponents by garnering around 57 percent of the vote.

Our coverage of local City Council races begins on Monday with the spotlight on District 1. Tuesday will feature District 2, Wednesday District 3, Thursday the at-large race, Friday features District 5, and Saturday District 6.

We will also publish stories on the municipal elections in Clinton (Tuesday), Sullivan (Wednesday), and Brazil (Thursday).

Information for voters on polling sites and other items of interest will be published on Sunday, Nov. 4. We will also publish a sample ballot again this year. We have not yet determined what day that will run. We will keep you posted.

The Tribune-Star’s editorial board will also issue candidate endorsements on our editorial pages in the mayoral and council races on Wednesday and Thursday.

• The Tribune-Star and League of Women Voters of Vigo County will team up again to co-sponsor a candidate forum at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Franklin Elementary School, 1600 Elm St.

This forum is for Terre Haute City Council candidates and will feature questions from a panel as well as from those attending the event.

The format of this forum will be similar to the one we sponsored with the League in the primary. Each candidate will give an opening statement, and will then answer the questions posed. The order of candidates answering questions will rotate so to keep things as fair as possible. At the end of the two-hour event, each candidate will give a closing statement.

All but one candidate has confirmed attendance at the forum, so it should be an excellent event for all involved.