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Monday, Feb. 26
The Indiana Daily Student

politics bloomington

Sue Sgambelluri, Ron Smith win Bloomington City Council elections


Unofficial Tuesday night results for Bloomington’s only two contested elections show Democratic candidates Sue Sgambelluri and Ron Smith won the District 2 and 3 seats, respectively, for Bloomington City Council.

Results for District 2 reported Sgambelluri with 365 votes over Republican Andrew Guenther, who earned 218 votes.

In District 3, Smith’s results reported 448 votes. Independent candidate Nick Kappas came in with 425 votes. Marty Spechler, another independent candidate, had 95 votes.

About 40 local Democrats including unopposed candidates, supporters and party officers gathered after polls closed to watch the results come in at the Monroe County Democratic Party headquarters downtown with a spread including pizza, La Croix and beer from Upland Brewing Co.

All results were reported around 7:15 p.m., just over an hour after polls closed, and the Democrats shouted and applauded when Sgambelluri and Smith were announced the winners.

Smith, the only one of the two candidates who had arrived by this point, gave a speech alongside Mayor John Hamilton and city clerk Nicole Bolden. Both ran unopposed but still stood next to Smith to celebrate the victories.

“I will work very hard and do my best to represent the citizens of District 3 and the citizens and people of Bloomington, to do my very best,” Smith said. 

In an interview, Smith said his plans as a council member include being available to citizens at community events and finding new ways to bring green policy to the city. He said he wants to continue with his career in social work for another year or so until he is eligible for Social Security and can then put even more of a focus into his council position instead of working full time.

Hamilton's mayoral position was among those that did not require an election Tuesday. He was unopposed for the position after primary candidate Amanda Barge dropped out in March following an Indiana Daily Student investigation into sexual harassment allegations against her.

Hamilton said he is looking forward to working with the new council candidates and handling both the challenges and positive aspects of the job.

“I’m gratified and excited for the next four years,” Hamilton said.

Because he did not face anyone else, Hamilton did not go through the amount of debate and public discussion usually found in mayoral races as candidates go head-to-head in front of voters. 

He said he plans to dive into plans for his new term soon.

“I think in the next weeks and months it’ll be a good time to talk about the next chapter or two,” Hamilton said. 

Sgambelluri came in around 7:30 p.m., and the Democrats came up to congratulate and hug her. As she stood in the middle of the room to give her speech, she said she felt a little overwhelmed, noting the 17 unread texts she had on her phone.

She talked about her opponent raising tens of thousands of dollars and still losing, which she said showed people trusted her to make Bloomington better.

“At the end of the day, money matters a lot less than that,” she told the crowd.

In an interview after her speech, Sgambelluri reemphasized her desire to help vulnerable populations and focus on Bloomington's economic health. Sgambelluri, who works for the College of Arts and Sciences at IU, said she plans to weigh IU interests equally with other local businesses. She also wants to find ways to incentivize green behavior such as using cars less often.

Steve Volan, a current council member for District 6, came to the watch party just hours after being hospitalized with a kidney stone. 

“This is an important day,” Volan said. “It’s Election Day.” 

He was supposed to canvass after attending a funeral in the morning, but the kidney stone pain began to hit right around when he would have started. 

After being discharged earlier in the evening, Volan showed up still wearing his hospital wristband and a T-shirt supporting Sgambelluri, with whom he went to high school and is still friends. They joked throughout the night about how Sgambelluri had to wake him up in government class. 

“Of course I’m all behind her,” Volan said. “She’s very disciplined, she’s very introspective and she’s going to make a great public servant.”

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