By Arthur E. Foulkes
Vigo County voters on Tuesday returned Democratic Commissioner Paul Mason for an additional four-year term as one of the county’s top executive officials.
The final, unofficial totals showed Mason winning the vote 22,343 to 19,090.
Mason, who has served as the 3rd District commissioner since 1998, defeated Republican challenger Brad Anderson, a Vigo County Councilman, winning 53 percent of the vote to Anderson’s 47 percent.
Mason and Anderson both said the campaign was clean.
“It was a good race. Very clean,” Anderson said Tuesday evening after conceding to Mason in a telephone call. “We didn’t go after personal attacks on each other.”
“You can have a clean campaign and a good campaign,” Mason agreed.
Anderson believes a strong turnout for Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama contributed to his defeat. There were more than 8,000 straight Democratic ballots cast in Vigo County, Anderson said. “That’s high,” he said. “It was not a Republican year.”
Obama won Vigo County by a strong margin of around 57 percent to 42 percent over Republican John McCain.
“I believe that 100 percent,” Mason said of the idea that enthusiasm for Obama helped him and other Democratic candidates Tuesday. “I’ll be the first one to say that.”
Mason said he looks forward to moving ahead with county infrastructure projects, including the Canal Road project during his next four years as a commissioner. He also hopes to help draw new business to the county, he said.
“We’re all looking at new business and new growth for Vigo County,” Mason said.
Anderson, who still has two more years on the County Council before facing re-election, said he believes he can still make a difference in county government. His priority is watching the use of taxpayer dollars, he said. “I can still be involved,” he said.
“We had fun,” Anderson said of his campaign. “We met a lot of great people and I got a lot of support from a lot of people.”
Mason, a former Vigo County recorder and Terre Haute fire chief, said he is grateful the voters decided to give him an additional four years in office. “I’m just so happy that they gave me the opportunity for four more years,” he said.
Arthur Foulkes can be reached at (812) 231-4232 or firstname.lastname@example.org.