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Myers won nomination with general-election approach

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Joey Connor walks back to her car between rows of campaign supporters after casting her ballot in the primary election Tuesday, May 6, 2014, at Parkside Elementary School.
Joey Connor walks back to her car between rows of campaign supporters after casting her ballot in the primary election Tuesday, May 6, 2014, at Parkside Elementary School.

A strong performance at precincts within Columbus helped Matt Myers win the Republican nomination for Bartholomew County sheriff.

In Tuesday’s primary election, Myers, a lieutenant with the Columbus Police Department, defeated three members of the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department: Chief Deputy Maj. Todd Noblitt and veteran sergeants T.A. Smith and Dean Johnson.

Myers, currently unopposed for the November general election, won by more than 500 votes against runner-up Noblitt.

Myers won 36 of the county’s 66 precincts outright and tied for the win in three others.

More than 60 percent of the precincts Myers won were in central and northern Columbus. However, he also had pockets of success on the city’s west side and up by Edinburgh. He also won one precinct in Hope and one in the southern part of the county, in Wayne Township.

A key component of Myers’ campaign was to bring everyone together, said Martha Myers, his mother and campaign co-chairwoman.

The GOP nominee did a lot of door-to-door greetings and attended a lot of fish frys, she said.

Matt Myers also reached out to Democrats, who didn’t have many choices within their own party on Tuesday’s ballot.

He was the only sheriff candidate who attended the May 3 Bartholomew County Democratic Party’s annual Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner, three days before the election.

“I ran the primary like a general election,” Myers said. “We were looking for independent voters, Democrat voters and Republican voters. I said all along I want to work for everybody.”

People need to work together when it comes to public safety, he said.

Democratic Party Chairwoman Priscilla Scalf joked that Myers’ appearance at the dinner was his first step in becoming a Democrat. However, she added that she was sure some Democrats appreciated the gesture of him appearing at the dinner.

Noblitt finished second in the overall vote but third in precincts won, with 11 outright and one tie. Five of the precincts he won were on the eastern edge of the city. He also won two precincts each in German Township, northwest of Columbus, Sand Creek Township, southeast of the city, and on the city’s west side.

Smith, who finished third in total votes, had the second-most precinct victories, with 13 outright and one tie. Eight of the wins were at precincts in eastern or northeastern Bartholomew County. He also had a pocket of success on southeastern side of the city, winning three precincts there.

Johnson, who finished last in the voting, won three precincts outright and tied for one. The three he won outright were in the southwestern portion of the county.

Low turnouts

While voter turnout for the primary failed to crack 20 percent — 19.8 percent of the county’s 52,152 registered voters cast ballots — the turnout was almost the same as the 2010 primary. That election saw 19.7 percent of registered voters cast a ballot.

However, some precincts had extremely low turnouts this year.

5 percent of voters cast ballots at precinct 2850, voting at Community Church of Columbus on Marr Road in Columbus.

5 percent cast ballots at precinct 3900, voting at the parks and recreation building in Edinburgh.

6.4 percent voted at precinct 4350, voting at the German Township Fire Station in Taylorsville.

These locations were among nine of the county’s 66 precincts that had fewer than 10 percent of voters cast ballots.

However, one precinct that had just five people vote is not included among precincts with the lowest percentage of voters. That’s because precinct 3200 has just 11 registered voters, which means 45.5 percent of them voted on Tuesday.

Precinct 3200, which voted at Flintwood Wesleyan Church along with precinct 3550, consists largely of farmland owned by the Marr family that was not annexed into the city years ago, said Jay Phelps, a supervisor in the county’s voter registration and elections office.

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