FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry will keep his title.
Henry defeated Republican challenger Tim Smith in Tuesday night’s municipal election. Henry secured 61 percent of the vote over Smith, according to Allen County Election Board results.
Smith conceded the race just before 8 p.m.
Henry will remain in office now for an unprecedented fourth term. He was joined by his family and his campaign team as he delivered Tuesday night’s victory speech.
Henry first reflected on the accomplishments that have been made since he took office in 2008.
He said unemployment went from 10 percent in 2008 to 2.8 percent in 2019. Henry said more than $500 million has been invested in downtown development.
“Because of that we have become a shining beacon in the state of Indiana,” he said. “No longer is Indianapolis the talk of our state, Fort Wayne is.”
Henry said the city remains strong in public safety, economic development and infrastructure and he promised continue that momentum.
The next four years Henry will focus on improving the health of the community, investing in the arts and exploring alternative energy sources.
Henry and Smith ran a heated and often negative race. As Henry touted his accomplishments the past 12 years, especially with downtown development, Smith challenged Henry’s record on crime and policing, the status of the southeast side and trash collection issues, among other matters. The two squared off in three debates leading up to the election, including one live on WANE 15.
Over at the Allen County Republican Party headquarters, Smith’s concession speech was very short, just a-minute-a-half long. He said the people of Fort Wayne made it very obvious what they wanted.
“The people of Fort Wayne obviously decided they wanted another four years with Mayor Henry and it was pretty clear,” he said.
Getting only 39 percent of the votes made that transparent to him.
“The mayor is popular and people think the city’s doing well and I think the city’s doing well in many ways,” he said. “So we knew that was going to be difficult from the beginning. We opted for strategy from the beginning, thought it was going to work. It didn’t work.”
Smith expressed he’s open to running for mayor again in four years.
“We’ll see,” he said. “This was the end of a long campaign. I would say if the people of Fort Wayne decided they wanted to give me another crack I would think about it. I’m a business guy. I’ve been a business guy for 25 years. If the folks of Fort Wayne think in four years they want a business guy, then I’d be willing to entertain it.”
Smith shared that he called Henry, congratulated him, and offered a helping hand if ever needed.