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Mayor’s contest offers voters choice between experience and fresh perspective

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Fort Wayne’s NBC) – Out with the old and in with the new–Republican mayoral nominee Tim Smith hopes that phrase describes what voters opt for in the 2019 Fort Wayne mayor’s race.

That will not happen if Democrat Mayor Tom Henry has something to say about it.

The stage is now set for the showdown between Henry and Smith.

After winning the Democratic Party primary with ease May 7th, Henry quickly began drawing attention to Smith’s sparse record of service on local boards and committees.

“He has never come to my office to volunteer to do anything,” Henry told a Democratic Party election night gathering.

Henry questions whether Smith is capable of working with state and Federal legislators to bring critical funding back home.

“None of them, who he knows, I think really puts him in a position that I think he’s going to have a very difficult time defining himself as a leader,” Henry said.

Smith used his lack of experience in the public realm as a strength, not a weakness, in handily winning the GOP primary over long-time city councilman Dr. John Crawford.

He is convinced voters are ready to reject politics as usual, and embrace his pledge to create a spark that sets the city’s economic growth on fire.

“We will be casting a vision that is broader than where Fort Wayne is and that where Fort Wayne has been for decades,” Smith said.

Political analyst Andy Downs says Smith’s strong social conservative views were tailored to the conservative voting profile in the primary.

Now, the message must be crafted to the city as a whole.

“Time to turn the page, look for a fresh perspective, while that seemed to work well in the primary, we don’t know that it will work as well in the fall,” said Andy Downs, with the Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics.

The mayoral election will be held November 5th.

Jeff Neumeyer

Jeff Neumeyer is a reporter for WPTA.

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