By Jon Gambrell
LAWRENCEBURG - GOP challenger Jeff Hughes beat incumbent Karen Shell in primary voting Tuesday for her Dearborn County commissioner's seat.
In a second commissioner's race, Richard Fox beat Mark Hall in the Republican primary for the seat being vacated by Democrat Dan Batta, who is not running.
There were no Democrats on Tuesday's ballot for either commission race, though the party could appoint a candidate to run against the GOP nominees in November.
In unofficial results, Hughes received 53 percent of the votes to Shell's 47 percent. Fox beat Hall 62 percent to 38 percent.
Hughes, a 38-year-old carpenter, embraced his crying mother-in-law and smiling wife after learning of his primary victory Tuesday evening at the Dearborn County Courthouse. "I have a deep gratitude for the chance to be the Republican candidate," he said. "I'm glad the residents have allowed me a chance to serve."
Growth and taxation were the major issues bringing Dearborn voters to the ballot box. Dearborn, with a population of nearly 47,000, is one of the fastest-growing counties in Indiana.
The southeastern Indiana county is run by three commissioners and a seven-member council.
Meanwhile, Indiana Gov. Joseph E. Kernan was uncontested in the Democratic primary, after taking office following the death of Gov. Frank O'Bannon in September.
Vying to challenge Kernan in the November elections were Republicans Mitch Daniels, a former director of the White House Office of Management and Budget under George W. Bush, and lawyer Eric Miller, who founded the conservative group Advance America.
Daniels easily defeated Miller with about 67 percent of the votes.
A Daniels-Kernan matchup likely would be the most expensive campaign in state history, and most political observers considered Daniels the favorite to win the GOP nomination.
Kernan sent letters to both GOP candidates Tuesday challenging the winner to three debates and proposing some ground rules for the fall campaign.
The Associated Press contributed to this report. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
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