Annexation Could Have Impact On Fort Wayne Mayoral Election

By Jeff Neumeyer

November 7, 2011 Updated Nov 7, 2011 at 7:29 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) --- The republican challenger in the Fort Wayne mayor's race hopes shifting demographics in the city over the past twenty years will benefit her bid to unseat the democrat incumbent.

A lot of new people have been added to the voting rolls, but more importantly, it's where the growth has occurred that figures to have an impact in the voting results.

In January 2006, much of Aboite Township was absorbed into Fort Wayne, through the largest annexation in Indiana history.

Fort Wayne's population went from a little more than 173,000 in 1990 to slightly more than 253,000 in 2010, most of that change due to annexations.

The prevailing wisdom is that the suburban neighborhoods sucked into the city limits have more republicans living in them than democrats.

Paula Hughes/(R) Ft. Wayne Mayoral Nominee: " On the northside in Pine Valley, on the southwest side for Aboite, and those populations are full of conservative, suburban republicans, and it's going to bode very well. That's what I say, this is a republican town, it has become even more strongly a republican town with those annexations."

We approached Mayor Tom Henry about an interview on the subject, but were told he was busy and wouldn't be available.

A statement provided by his campaign read, in part, “Being mayor means fighting for everyone, regardless of party. The number one issue in Aboite is that residents are paying Aqua higher prices for lower quality water, that is wrong and it needs to change."

Those newly annexed areas will almost certainly be a huge battleground for control of the mayor's office the next four years.

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