Sparks, but no fire

Principal runs for state representative to give teachers a voice


Linton Mayor John Wilkes comforts Sparks in the final moments of the campaign. Twenty-six miuntes later, the race for the next House Representative for Distrcit 62 was called for Sparks' opponent, Matt Ubelhor. The final vote tally was 41 percent Sparks and 55 percent Ublehor. The margin of defeat was greater this campaign than Sparks' previous challenge to Ubelhor two years earlier in the 2012 election. Nicole Robinson and Nicole Robinson

Election Day is cold and rainy.

The sky goes from overcast to drizzling to full pouring rain in Greene County as the last voters leave the polls.

At the Linton, Ind., headquarters of District 62 statehouse candidate Jeff Sparks , supporters and family have gathered to wait for the election results. Campaign treasurer Terri Neighbors  checks news sites for vote tallies on a ? borrowed laptop.

Polls closed more than three hours ago    and Sparks is restless, picking up empty soda bottles and cups and crossing the room to throw them out.  He pulls at his neck while a volunteer speculates about votes in Monroe County.

No update yet.

His phone rings.

Sparks answers to greet his campaign manager  — “Hello, Jon” — and disappears around the corner into a dim storage room. He stands and listens, his reply inaudible over volunteers’ chatter.  His back is to them, his profile just visible over his shoulder as he turns his head ? toward the phone.

He hangs up and walks back into the ? brightly lit room.

“Well, that’s it.”

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Chapter 6

A month later, Jeff Sparks is visibly more relaxed. He leans back in a diner booth at The Grill on Linton’s main street, wearing a well-loved black Purdue sweatshirt.

Chapter 5

Not all the educators running for office have Sparks’ chances this election, Sutton says. He names a couple local races, then closes his eyes and shakes his head, symbolically shutting them down. “Sometimes it’s just too hard to change the ideological slant of a district.” On Election Day, it turns out Sutton was right about two of the three races he predicted.

Chapter 4

Saturday before the election, 22-year-old The Linton headquarters are actually the town multi-purpose room.

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