HAMILTON COUNTY (May 5, 2015) - Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard declared victory Tuesday night in the mayoral primary, defeating council president Rick Sharp.
Hamilton County incumbent mayors in Carmel, Westfield and Noblesville won their primaries, paving the way toward 2016 with no Democratic challengers.
"It’s an opportunity," Brainard said surrounded by supporters. "It’s an opportunity the voters have given us to continue to serve and to continue to try and make Carmel the best place in the U.S. to live, work and raise a family.”
Sharp mounted a serious challenge, accusing Brainard of accumulating $1 billion in debt.
"I think we ran a very positive campaign, issue-orientated," Sharp said Tuesday night. "We tried to communicate to the people some very complex issues about Carmel’s finances."
Brainard, elected to his sixth term as mayor, called Sharp’s assertions “fuzzy facts.”
"It’s a message they trust us," Brainard said. "We have to use that trust carefully but we want to move ahead, continue to grow with high-quality growth. We want to continue our park and trail system, we want to continue to be something more than just a bedroom suburb. We want to continue to compete for the best jobs anywhere in the globe."
Westfield Mayor Andy Cook defeated challenger Jeff Harpe, a Pike Township firefighter, critical over the mayor's handling of Grand Park and expansion plans at the sports complex.
"I think they've resoundingly said yes," Cook said. "Let’s keep moving. Grand park is pumped in over $43 million of new money last year that was never here before. That’s going to create a demand for hotels and restaurants, shopping and entertainment and that’s’ really what grand park is about."