FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) -- The voters give Fort Wayne Democrat Mayor Tom Henry a second term running the city.
Henry claimed fewer than 50 percent of the vote-- 49.9%-- in Tuesday’s mayoral contest, but the total was enough to outdistance Republican challenger Paula Hughes, who secured more than 46 percent of the vote.
The defeat was a tough pill to swallow for Hughes.
Democrats, meanwhile, are getting used to celebrating victory in the mayor's race.
Four more years--it’s the message voters sent to the incumbent Tom Henry.
The outcome represents the fourth straight time the democrats have claimed the mayor's office, dating all the way back to 1999.
It was a messy campaign, full of negative ads from both candidates, but Henry prevails, though, again, he did so without getting a majority of the votes cast.
Independent candidate Haley Ahrendt picked up nearly four percent of the vote total.
Democrat supporters who gathered at the Grand Wayne Center gave Henry a raucous ovation when he got up on stage to deliver his victory speech.
Henry said although he and Hughes disagreed over where Fort Wayne stands today and where it is headed in the future, he praised the GOP challenger for the race she ran.
Hughes faced a subdued crowd at the republican election night gathering at Ceruti’s Banquet Hall.
She congratulated the mayor and her supporters.
The mayor returned the favor.
Mayor Tom Henry/(D) Fort Wayne: " The campaign was about a very serious issue, who voters could trust with Fort Wayne's future. With that said I want to thank all the citizens of Fort Wayne for the confidence in me."
Paula Hughes/(R) Ft. Wayne Mayoral Nominee: " Of course I'm disappointed. I was looking forward to being the city's first female mayor, but that isn't what happened. That's not what the voters decided, and I've always said, I run because I have a passion for the city and if people agree with me they'll vote me in, and if they don't they won't, and I respect that opinion."
Hughes said it's difficult to knock off an incumbent, saying she thought her campaign had "conquered that mountain, but that obviously we needed to climb higher.”
Hughes says she is still deciding what options she will pursue next.
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