TERRE HAUTE —
It took a while to get there, but unofficial results show Jim Mann II, a Terre Haute South Vigo High School teacher, is the Democratic nominee for the Indiana House District 46 race in the fall.
As of late Tuesday, only about 90 percent of the votes in the four-county district had been counted and just a few hundred votes separated Mann from his closest primary opponent, Chuck Toth of Terre Haute. In the end, Mann won the three-way primary race by more than 400 votes.
Mann, 47, won 1,582 votes, according to the Indiana Secretary of State’s office. Toth received 1,165 votes. A third Democrat, Larry Barker of Monroe County, received 785 votes.
After teaching classes at South on Wednesday, Mann said he was “very pleased with the outcome, obviously. We had a real good team effort.”
Each of the three Democratic candidates won a majority of the votes in at least one county in District 46. Mann took majorities in Clay and Vigo counties, Toth in Owen County and Barker won the most votes in Monroe County.
Mann will face Republican Bob Heaton in the November general election. Heaton, a first-term member of the Indiana House, was unopposed in the GOP primary, in which he unofficially received 5,316 votes.
Looking ahead to November, Mann said, “I’ve got a lot of studying to do now. There will be a lot of research, learning a lot about the issues, especially pertaining to the voters. … I’m speaking to everybody now. In the primary I looked at independents and Democrats because I knew that was my audience. Now we’re going to have to expand it.”
Mann, a first-time candidate for office, said he benefited from having two “good primary opponents,” adding that all three Democrats agreed to support whichever of them won the race. He also said he hopes for opportunities to take part in debates and candidate forums in the fall.
“I have a lot of respect for Mr. Heaton,” Mann said. “I think [the general election campaign] will be a battle of the issues, and the voters will decide.”
Reporter Arthur Foulkes can be reached at (812) 231-4232 or firstname.lastname@example.org.