Daily Reporter staff reports
FORTVILLE — Lenzy Hendrix will again fill a seat of the Fortville Town Council, serving many of the same friends and neighbors he did 20 years ago.
Hendrix, an independent, took the most votes in the four-way race for two seats and will join incumbent Republican Janet Manship, who placed second, to represent Fortville’s first district on the town council. Hendrix’s win ousted incumbent Republican Ron Stafford, who was seeking a third term in office and received the least number of votes. Placing third was independent candidate Pat Calhoun.
The race was one of two for three of the town’s top seats. Republican Sherry Durbin defeated her independent challengers, Jeff Ratliff and Tonya Drake Davis, to win the clerk-treasurer office.
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Hendrix said he has spent too many elections watching local candidates slide into office. Year after year, those serving seemed to never be challenged in Election Day races. He tossed his hat into the Fortville Town Council race this year because he felt voters deserved more choices.
“Democracy really does work,” Hendrix said after the final votes were tallied.
It was a close race all around for the two open seats on the town council. Hendrix was the top vote-getter Tuesday, collecting 299 votes, while Manship garnered 276. Calhoun had 245, and Stafford had 238.
Hendrix is eager to return to the council, of which he was a member from 1991 to 1995, to tackle issues important to residents, including the affordability of living in Fortville and planning for its future, he said.
Although disappointed he lost, Calhoun was thankful for his supporters and the opportunity to run. In the future, he’ll continue serving on Fortville’s board of police commissioners.
Manship, who already has served five years on the council, said she is looking forward to dedicating another four years to her neighbors and the town she calls home.
Her main goal is to keep the council and the town’s offices working as a unit. She wants to complete the town’s comprehensive plan and see it implemented while seeking grants to help the process along.
On Tuesday, Manship was pleased with voter turnout in Fortville, where more than 500 voters cast ballots.
“I’m happy to see the interest that the people of the town expressed by showing up to vote,” she said. “I appreciate all their support.”
Hendrix and Manship will work closely with Durbin, who oversees the town’s budget and record-keeping under the direction of the town council.
Durbin won the race against independent challengers Tonya Drake Davis and Jeff Ratliff with 225 votes. Ratliff pulled in 210 votes, while Davis collected 142 votes.
Durbin, who earlier this year ousted incumbent Marcie Stafford in the Republican primary, has lived in Fortville with her husband, Doug, a Fortville police officer, for 15 years.
In the days leading up to the election, Durbin said, she kept busy campaigning and fielding questions from neighbors. She plans to maintain that openness as she steps into the new position by maintaining office hours Monday through Friday to be available for residents, department heads and town officials, she said.
On Tuesday evening, Durbin said she was eager to get started Jan. 1. Her top goals are to move the office in a positive direction and build strong relationships with the town council and department heads.
“I want to thank my supporters for believing in me and knowing that I can do this job,” Durbin said.
Though Davis, who has lived in Fortville most of her life, wished Durbin well, she said she is “sorry for the town” for choosing a candidate she believes is unqualified for the position.
“It should have went to someone who knew how to do the job, and I don’t think that’s who they got,” she said.
Ratliff, a lifelong resident of Fortville who served on the town council from 2008 to 2012, threw his name in the race earlier this year, promising to hold regular office hours. He wished Durbin well after her win, saying he can’t change anything now.
“No matter what happens, happens,” he said. “It worked out the way it was supposed to.”
Stafford could not be reached for comment.
Fortville Town Council; District 1
Lenzy Hendrix, I;299
Janet Manship, R;276
Pat Calhoun, I;245
Ron Stafford, R;238
Sherry Durbin, R;225
Jeff Ratliff, I;210
Tonya Drake Davis, I;142