Republican candidate Susan Byer appeared to have an insurmountable lead in the Hamilton County Treasurer’s race late Tuesday night, beating Democrat Jake Madore by more than 42,000 votes.
Hamilton County officials released their final election report for the evening at 9:34 p.m. Tuesday. Hamilton County’s clerk, Kathy Williams, said more than 53,000 personal ballots and about one-third of the county’s absentee ballot were counted at this point. Although there are roughly 30,000 postal ballot papers left to be counted as of 8 a.m. on Wednesday, Byer ended the night with 63.11% of the vote, down from Madore’s 36.89%.
“I’m not an overly confident person. I really believed this was going to be a close race, ”said Byer. “Obviously I was pleased when the numbers came in and I was ahead. But I don’t count my chickens before they hatch. “
Byer said she and Madore had a chat before the polls closed and Madore wasn’t ready to allow the race. Madore could not be reached by phone Tuesday evening.
Byer, an Arcadia resident who served the county’s bankruptcy administrator for 13 years, admitted that her campaign was controversial.
“I tried to run on my own and not talk about the drama or controversy surrounding my discharge from the county a little over two years ago,” Byer said.
Current Hamilton County Treasurer Jennifer Templeton, who cannot be re-elected after serving two years, fired Byer in March 2018.
Byer responded by filing a lawsuit in November 2018 alleging she was fired for pointing out suspected criminal activity in the treasurer’s office. Byer said executives broke the law by allowing employees to waive penalties for late property tax payments for themselves and their family members.
Hamilton County’s assistant treasurer, Kim Good, Byer’s former supervisor, responded with a defamation lawsuit alleging that Byer made “intentionally false and misleading” statements to the media in order to sabotage her chances in Republican elementary school.
After nearly seven months of investigation, a special prosecutor concluded that there was insufficient evidence and no laws in force to bring charges against a county official involved in the matter.
Byer and Good faced each other in this year’s Republican primary, and Byer won with 52.7% of the vote.
Madore, a Carmel-based corporate tax manager, made the controversy part of his campaign by promising to hire Templeton and Good if he won.
Byer said if she holds the lead, she just hopes the current treasurer’s clerks are treated well until she takes office in January.
“I am very excited and ready to start this new company,” she said.