TERRE HAUTE —
Incumbent Democrat Clyde Kersey has been re-elected to his ninth two-year term for District 43 in the Indiana House of Representatives.
The retired teacher received 65 percent of the vote across the district — all of which is contained in Vigo County — while Republican challenger John Cunningham received about 7,500 ballots.
The uncertified vote totals from Vigo County show Kersey with 13,879 votes to Cunningham’s 7,540.
“I feel very gratified that I received almost 14,000 votes,” Kersey said when reached by phone as the final vote totals were coming in at the Vigo County Courthouse. “I think it’s a statement about the time I’ve served and I hope it shows the fact that I’m representing my constitutents. I feel good about that.”
Kersey is a Terre Haute native who retired as a teacher from Terre Haute North Vigo High School. He was first elected to the state legislature in 1996.
Challenger Cunningham, reached by phone at his home, conceded the win to Kersey early in the evening, saying his own campaign was not as well funded.
“It’s been a good race. Clyde won by quite a bit, but I was pretty sure that would happen,” Cunningham said. “I’m proud of the campaign we ran. It was a campaign of honesty and there’s no regrets there.”
Kersey said he was concerned that the legislative walk-out by Democrats last year would hurt him in this year’s election.
“I think that was a concern,” Kersey said of the walk-out, “but I think that was something we had to do to slow down the process and so people would understand what was going on. I think in my area of the state, a lot of the unions were very supportive, and I think a lot of teachers were very supportive of what we did.”
Kersey said he expects education to be a continuing issue in the Statehouse, especially if funding to public schools is cut and diverted to charter schools.
“Whenever that happens, the class sizes increase and that makes it more difficult for the teachers and students,” the retired educator said.
Reporter Lisa Trigg can be reached at (812) 231-4254 or firstname.lastname@example.org.