Indiana Daily Student


While the election was over, Sparks' job as Principal of Linton-Stockton Junior High was not. No longer campaigning, Sparks is back to his usual life of being a principal and role model and will continue to fulfill that role. Although he won't have the loudest voice for a higher public education, he will still continue to strive for the best possibilities for his school and students.

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.

Sparks and two other candidates spoke at a forum hosted by the Indiana Coalition for Public Education for any local legislative candidates Monday, Oct. 20 in the Bloomington City Hall Council Chambers.

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.

Jon Sutton, Sparks' head campaign manager, is an Indiana University senior who took a semester off to focus on the campaign. His office in the Monroe County Democrats headquarters in Bloomington is cluttered with empty paper and coffee cups with a dried brown ring in the bottoms. Sutton and his co-manager often worked 10-hour days, six days a week. In the corner leaned a stale stack of pizza boxes. "The rewards points from that have been the highlight of my employment," Sutton said after the election.

Chapter 4

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

Jeff Sparks, statehouse candidate and Principal of Linton-Stockton Junior High, sips his morning coffee as he explains his daily duties at school. Sparks ran for the 2012 election as a rookie and lost by a little over 1,500 votes. This year he ran again against his former incumbent, Matt Ubelhor, and hoped to improve the standards for the public school systems in Indiana.

Chapter 3

Friday before the election, Sparks is at the junior high. He’s about worn out, he says.

Sparks and former Speaker of the House and 2012 governor candidate, John Gregg, drove around in Green Acres, a newer neighborhood in Linton. Sparks canvassed on the weekends trying to reach out to those who hadn't voted yet and convince them to go to the polls. Gregg would often be present to gain public support for Sparks' campaign.

Chapter 2

Sparks gives up his weekends for the campaign, going to spaghetti dinner and pancake breakfast fundraisers all over the district.

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.

Sparks, but no fire

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.

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