Businessman Tim Smith has defeated Fort Wayne City Councilman John Crawford in the Republican primary for Fort Wayne mayor.
Unofficial results from the Allen County Election Board had Smith with 56 percent of the vote, compared to Crawford’s 42 percent. The race drew 16,075 votes.
“What a phenomenal opponent John Crawford is,” Smith said. “Going head-to-head with someone of Councilman Crawford’s history is absolutely difficult. It’s a little intimidating. It was a difficult race. He ran a fantastic race.”
Crawford’s analysis is that he loss because of Smith’s negative campaigning.
“Basically, once the negative ads started coming and there were close to a half-million dollars of those, I could see my unfavorables going up and the polls tightening and basically that’s why people do negative ads, because they work,” Crawford said.
The councilman continued on to say they gave a good fight. He also said that he’s done with politics and will focus on his work as a doctor.
“We have no regret,” he explained. “We worked as hard as we possibly could. We left it all on the field. I don’t plan again on running for office here in Fort Wayne.”
Smith will face Democratic mayor Tom Henry in November. Henry won his own primary with 86 percent of the vote to compete for his fourth consecutive term.
“We celebrate tonight and we wake up tomorrow and we start our attack plan against Mayor Henry,” he said. “Nobody is invincible in politics.”
Smith calls himself a political outsider and a proven business executive. He’s senior vice president at insurance company MedPro.
His plan is to ensure school and community safety, use zero-sum budgeting, and attract new, higher paying jobs to the area.
Matters heated up a few weeks ago when Smith released a TV ad and mail flier calling Crawford the “tax man,” saying that his record shows that he loves to raise taxes and that the city can’t “afford” him as mayor.
Other Allen County GOP primary results
Republican Fort Wayne City Councilmen Michael Barranda and Thomas Freistroffer kept their at-large seats in Tuesday night’s primary, while Nathan Hartman pulled in nearly 25 percent of the vote. Eric Tippmann and Joe Townsend fell short in the 5-way race for three seats.
Councilmen Tom Didier and Jason Arp both won their primaries, the third and fourth districts respectively.