TERRE HAUTE —
In House District 46, incumbent Republican Bob Heaton won re-election to a second term, defeating Democrat James Mann II, who ran for elected office for the first time.
At 10 p.m. Tuesday, Heaton had 9,628 votes to Mann’s 7,421, with all Vigo and Owen County results counted and with results from 22 of 23 precincts in Clay County and nine of 11 precincts in Monroe County.
“I’m very thankful to all the people who have worked behind the scenes in helping me with my campaign,” Heaton said in a telephone interview while driving from Owen County Republican headquarters to Clay County Republican headquarters. “I’m very thankful and humbled. I appreciate the voters and their support.”
Now, he said, “We have to get back to the Statehouse. … We have more work to do.” A Republican legislative caucus will meet this afternoon in Indianapolis.
When asked about priorities, Heaton said, “It boils down to jobs and the economy. We need to continue to work on attracting businesses to Indiana and to continue working on a pro-business climate” in the state.
He spent the day in Monroe County.
Heaton, 56, has been in the insurance business for 32 years. Mann, 47, is a social studies teacher at Terre Haute South Vigo High School.
Mann, contacted by telephone Tuesday evening, said, “It was a good race. I had a lot of fun and I met a lot of quality people. It’s good to be part of democracy in America.”
He said he has “no idea” if he will run for an elected position in the future. He ran for District 46 because “it’s something I felt needed to be done.”
Both agreed that a top priority is bringing good-paying jobs to the district, and both talked about creating incentives that help attract business and industry and enable existing ones to expand.
Heaton describes himself as a conservative Republican who believes in the principles of limited government, free markets and personal responsibility.
“I believe the best policies require the least dollars be taken from people and what is taken provides effective and efficient services,” he said in a prior interview.
He wants to improve career and technical education in high schools, and the general assembly to study how it might address early childhood education in Indiana.
The two differed sharply on education issues, with Heaton supportive, and Mann opposed, to many of the reforms advocated by Tony Bennett, state superintendent of public instruction.
Heaton supports taxpayer-funded vouchers that enable children to attend private schools, while Mann was opposed. Mann also raised concerns that each new public charter school takes money away from existing, traditional public schools.
Heaton supported right-to-work legislation, which prohibits employers from requiring employees to join a labor organization. Mann opposed right-to-work legislation.
Sue Loughlin can be reached at (812) 231-4235 or firstname.lastname@example.org.