State Rep. Milo Smith, R-Columbus, successfully overcame his first challenger in a primary for District 59 representative.
Smith earned a chance Tuesday for a fifth-consecutive term by defeating Bartholomew County Council President Ryan Lauer in the GOP primary. Smith received more than 59 percent of the vote (4,239 votes) compared to Lauer’s nearly 41 percent (2,895).
Smith had been unchallenged in his four previous primaries, although he faced an opponent in three of the general elections.
District 59 includes a large portion of Bartholomew County, including most of Columbus.
Smith said the short election period, because he had a primary opponent, was stressful and a new challenge.
“I will just continue to do the job I have in the past and do the best job I can for the people who elected me,” Smith said.
Lauer, 36, was elected as the County Council District 3 representative four years ago. He’s served as council president this year.
He said friends and district constituents urged him for months to seek the office, and after consideration he thought he could bring change and new ideas to it.
Lauer said he’s not thinking of another political run at the moment, and he’ll focus on his family now because he and his wife have a baby on the way.
Smith’s record as a representative includes authoring a state law that bans synthetic drugs known as “bath salts” and “Spice.” The drugs, which can be as addictive as marijuana and other illegal substances, were freely marketed on the Internet and in convenience stores.
Smith, 63, also authored a law that requires property owners to inform renters if the property they are renting is in a flood plain.
That legislation arose from problems related to the June 2008 flood that damaged large sections of Columbus and Bartholomew County.
Both candidates expressed the importance of education during the campaign.
Lauer said Indiana has serious educational problems and was critical of the state using the Common Core standards — which lawmakers, including Smith, voted to scrap.
Indiana needs more flexibility and innovation for teachers to teach, exceptionally high standards and kindergarten should be fully funded, he said.
Smith said better educational results can be achieved using a roundtable approach and invited teachers, administrators and parents for an “Indiana Conference on Education” to make recommendations to elected officials.
District 59 state representative
Milo Smith 4,239
Ryan Lauer 2,895