Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett will remain in office for another four years after taking a decisive lead over the Republican challenger, businessman Jefferson Shreve, in vote counting Tuesday night.
The Democrat is now the first mayor in the past four decades to be reelected to a third term.
At 8:52 pm, with 78 percent of vote centers reporting, Hogsett had 59 percent of the vote and Shreve had 41 percent.
The race has been the most expensive ever for Indianapolis mayor, with almost $16 million shelled out by the two candidates’ campaigns as of Oct. 13. Experts said Shreve has been Hogsett’s strongest opponent, at least financially, in the Democrat’s three mayoral bids and also been the most visible, as his $14.5 million campaign — mostly self-funded — allowed him to flood Indianapolis airwaves with dozens and dozens of ads.
Central Indiana election results 2023: Live vote tallies here as results are announced
Hogsett becomes the only Indianapolis mayor other than Republican Bill Hudnut to serve more than two terms since 1970, when Unigov consolidated the city and county governments.
Shreve previously served on the Indianapolis City-County Council from 2013 to 2016 and again from 2018 to 2019. Both times he was chosen by the Republican Party to fill vacant seats.
If Shreve had been elected mayor, he would have been the first Republican candidate to win countywide since 2011, when Republican Mayor Greg Ballard won his bid for a second term.
Indianapolis mayoral election 2023: Everything you need to know about the Joe Hogsett and Jefferson Shreve mayoral race
Hogsett has said he needed a third term because the pandemic delayed the progress he made in his first term. Among the accomplishments of his past eight years in office, he has said, are his $150 million anti-violence initiative and its peacemakers program, record-high infrastructure spending, including a $1.2 billion infrastructure plan, and a 16% reduction in homicides from 2021 to 2022, and attracting $9 billion in new economic investment downtown without increasing taxes.
Despite having an incumbency and partisan advantage, Hogsett has had a clear financial disadvantage, with his $6.1 million campaign contributions from a range of donors, including the prominent Simon business family, being less than half of Shreve’s.
Shreve campaigned on attacking Hogsett for high crime, gun violence and his leadership during the 2020 racial justice protests, where Shreve said the mayor should have been on the scene. A record 271 people were killed in homicides in 2021 in Indianapolis and another 226 were killed in 2022, Shreve pointed out. He promised to hire a public safety director, a position scrapped by Hogsett when he took office in 2016, making the mayor the de facto head of public safety.
In an unusual and risky move for a Republican, Shreve also advocated for gun control reform that was nearly identical to Hogsett’s, inciting anger among some conservative voters.
After an October poll by Indy Politics, Crossroads Public Affairs and ARW Strategies showed Hogsett in the lead but voters split on crime, voters seemed to see the race as a choice between “the lesser of two evils,” Laura Wilson, and the University of Indianapolis political expert, said.
“Neither candidate is especially popular or well liked,” she said, noting Hogsett had a 46% approval rating yet was leading Shreve by 10 points in the poll a month before Election Day.
Contact IndyStar reporter Ko Lyn Cheang at [email protected] or 317-903-7071. Follow her on Twitter: @kolyn_cheang.