Lucas leads District 69 race


Republican Jim Lucas of Seymour likely will see another two years at the Statehouse, as the incumbent District 69 state representative led the polls Tuesday.

He received 4,734 votes or 69% of the 6,853 votes cast Tuesday in Jackson County. Absentee and early voting, which includes 10,000 ballots, or more than half of the total vote, had not been counted as of The Tribune’s 10 p.m. deadline.

Preliminary results show political newcomer Independent Katrina “Kat” Hardwick of Seymour coming in second with 1,226 votes or 18% of the vote in Jackson County, followed by first-time candidate Democrat Jeffery Prewitt of Seymour, who received 893 or 13% of the vote.

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In Bartholomew County, Lucas won decidedly with 414 votes or 74.1% of the 559 votes cast. Prewitt came in second with 104 votes or 18.6%, and Hardwick received 41 votes or 7.3%.

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

Jennings and Jefferson counties numbers were not available as of The Tribune’s deadline.

If Lucas is determined the winner when all results have been finalized, it will be his fifth term representing the district.

“I won’t accept congratulations until all the numbers are in because we don’t know yet,” he said. “But it looks good, and I feel good about it. I’m confident that we have a strong message that people believe in, the same one we have been consistently pushing, that’s limited reach of government, adherence to the Constitution as written and respect for individual rights.”

During his time in office, he has championed for constitutional carry of firearms, an issue he plans to continuing fighting for at the Statehouse.

“I think it’s wrong and criminal that the state requires us to get a license to exercise a constitutional right, so I will be working on constitutional carry,” he said.

He also plans to continue his push for the state to legalize the medicinal and industrial use of marijuana.

“The side effects are very minimal, and the benefits are countless,” he said. “We need to look at agriculture. Hemp is a great agricultural opportunity that we are not taking full advantage of.”

But Lucas also has been vilified by some as a racist for sharing questionable memes on his personal Facebook account. It was an action that brought much criticism to the district and state and resulted in Lucas being taken off of several house committees.

He said he wasn’t surprised by the high voter turnout this election because of the state of the country.

“I hate to say that we are divided as we are, but that generates a lot of emotions, and that drives people to the polls,” he said.

During a debate between Lucas and Hardwick on Oct. 14, Lucas said he isn’t happy with the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We have put almost 800,000 Hoosiers out of work this summer, and that’s something that cannot be ignored,” he said. “We have long-term consequences that we are going to have to deal with.”

Lucas said Indiana also needs to do more, including lower taxes and regulation for businesses, to provide an environment that allows for more job creation.

Hardwick said she was overwhelmed by the love and support she received from voters throughout the day Tuesday and in the days leading up to the election.

Not knowing the official results, Hardwick said she was staying calm and hopeful.

“Either way, I am proud of myself for taking a chance, and I know I made my mama and the people who love me proud,” she said. “I have so much gratitude for everyone who supported me.”

She also said if she doesn’t win this election, she will run again in the future.

“This was just my first try,” she said.

Prewitt could not be reached in time for comment for this article.

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