Lucas earns Republican nomination

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Experience in state politics, Second Amendment rights and his support for legalizing medicinal marijuana swayed voters to nominate Jim Lucas over challengers Nancy Franke and Charles Johnson in the Republican primary for the District 69 Indiana House seat.

Lucas will now face Democrat Steve Schoettmer of Elizabethtown and Libertarian Steven Buffington of Seymour in the general election Nov. 6.

During Tuesday’s primary, Lucas, a small business owner from Seymour who is currently serving his third, two-year term in office, took 57.7 percent or 2,980 votes of the 5,164 Republican votes cast in Jackson County.

“We’ve got a great message and people know where I stand on the issues,” Lucas said of his success in Tuesday’s primary. “We’ve got a lot of really great things going, and I want to continue that.”

In her second bid to unseat Lucas, Franke, a Lutheran school teacher, also of Seymour, fell short earning 39 percent or 2,022 votes, followed by newcomer Charles Johnson of Columbus, who received 3 percent or 162 votes.

Franke said she is proud to be a part of the political process but was disappointed in the results.

She thanked all of the voters of District 69.

“I am honored and humbled to have had the opportunity to speak with you. You deserve the very best our public servants have to offer,” she said.

District 69 includes part of Brownstown Township and all of Hamilton, Jackson, Redding, Vernon and Washington townships in Jackson County and portions of Bartholomew, Jennings and Jefferson counties.

Lucas has made headlines across the country the past couple of years with his backing of constitutional carry legislation, which would eliminate all permit requirements for Hoosiers to carry a gun. He also has advocated for legalization of medicinal marijuana, CBD oils and production of industrial hemp.

“I’m not just a state leader but a nationally recognized leader on gun rights and medical cannabis,” Lucas said. “I was able to force those issues last year and get them on the table. I’ve proven myself as a leader and someone not afraid to take on the big issues.”

With the primary election over, Lucas said he is now turning his sights toward winning in November.

“I’ve got to keep our message out there,” he said. “We’ve done a very good job, but I want to educate myself more on medical cannabis and industrial hemp so I will be able to sell that better at the next session.”

He also plans to continue to travel the district and meet with people.

“I want to listen to what is on their minds and make myself as available as possible,” he said. “I try to engage with as many people as possible, and that seems to be successful so far.”

Lucas said he knows he can’t please everyone, but is willing to listen to anyone’s position.

“If you find a candidate that is trying to please everybody, then they are in it for the wrong reasons,” he said. “I try to explain myself, and if people can show me where I’m wrong, I will be the first to admit that and work to advance their position.”

He thanked the voters who took the time to support him.

“It was a signal,” he said. “We won big today again, and I’m honored and privileged to go represent them.”

In the other race involving Jackson County, incumbent state District 73 Rep. Steve Davisson of Salem was leading challenger Buford DeWitt of Paoli by 2,546 votes or 67 percent to 1,260 or 33 percent with 35 of 53 precincts counted. That was as of 9 p.m. Tuesday.

Davisson received 78.9 percent or 745 votes in Jackson County compared to DeWitt, who received 199 votes or 21.1 percent.

District 73 includes Carr, Driftwood, Grassy Fork and Owen townships and parts of Brownstown Township in Jackson County. That includes Clearspring, Medora, Norman, Sparksville, Tampico, Vallonia and Wegan.