News From Terre Haute, Indiana

November 6, 2012

Dems sweep Council At-Large seats

Brian Boyce
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — Democrats swept all three Vigo County Council At-Large seats Tuesday, returning two incumbents plus adding a newcomer to the body.

Unofficial tallies that evening showed incumbent Democrat Mark Bird leading the six-person pack with 21,806 votes, followed by fellow Democrat Rick Burger with 21,434 and incumbent Democrat Ed Ping at 19,106.

The council at-large seats represent all of Vigo County without respect to district. Voters could choose three total from the selection of six.

Republican candidate Craig Bales garnered 13,897 votes. Former Vigo County GOP Chairman Bill Treadway received 13,707 votes, followed by 13,159 for Steve Ellis.

Burger, the newcomer, watched the vote numbers as they posted on a television screen in the Vigo County Courthouse. Surrounded by his family and friends, the career Duke Energy employee said he hopes to become as synonymous with the council as he is with his employer.

“I think the strength of our community is our people,” he said, adding that extends well beyond the city limits of Terre Haute and out in the county as well.

Making Vigo the best county in Indiana is his goal, he said, emphasizing his appreciation for the voters’ support.

Meanwhile, at the Wabash Valley Labor Temple, Ping was hosting an election night party with his supporters. Winning his second term on the council meant a lot to him, he said.

“I would like to thank all of those that believe in my purpose on the council. This achievement is beyond expectations. Our victory today is a step toward continued county improvement. I will look forward to working more with the community and be a part of the county’s goals in the future,” he said.

Bird, who is the Vigo County Superintendent of Weights and Measures, won what will be his third and final term on the council. New state legislation taking effect in January prohibits government employees from serving on bodies which oversee their departments. However, Bird will be able to serve out this four-year term.

“I’m just glad all three of us won,” he said over the phone from his home.

Ping and he work well together on the council, and he said Burger will be a good addition to the group. Despite substantial budget cuts, the county has been able to maintain a strong financial standing, something he attributes to their conservative fiscal approach.  

Brian Boyce can be reached at 812-231-4253 or