FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE)- The day before elections proved to be a busy day for both Mayor Tom Henry and Councilman Mitch Harper. The candidates are making a final push before voters go to the polls.
Volunteers for their respective campaigns have spent much of the day reaching out to voters. Harper’s campaign has been knocking on doors and talking to people. Mayor Henry said volunteers for his campaign have made thousands of phone calls in addition to knocking on doors.
In the months leading up to the election, Mayor Henry and Councilman Harper have run very different campaigns.
“Mayor Henry was able to do a lot of things that require money. Television commercials and things like that,” said Andy Downs, a local political expert. “It’s not that Harper didn’t do those things, he just didn’t do enough of them. Harper relied more on grass root efforts. Knocking on doors, walking neighborhoods, volunteer efforts. Those sort of things.”
Historically, Fort Wayne has been characterized as a conservative city. That could be an advantage for Republican Councilman Harper. Still, Downs thinks Mayor Henry has a good chance of winning the election.
“Mayor Henry has not exactly done a whole lot to offend people or upset people,” said Downs. “Things are moving in a reasonably good direction and so that sets up an election that’s going to a lot closer than people think it would be.”
So what will determine who the next mayor of Fort Wayne will be? According to Downs: voter turnout.
“This is probably a 5 or 6 point kind of race, and some people pick one side over another,” he said. “It’s likely that if the turnout is really low then that’s to Harper’s advantage. But if the turnout reaches 2011 levels or higher, That’s probably to Henry’s advantage.”
Still both candidates are optimistic about the outcome on Election Day.
“Hopefully all the work we have put into this campaign will pay off tomorrow,” said Mayor Henry. “I feel pretty good. If we are not successful it’s not because we didn’t try.”
“We have an increasing level of confidence,” said Harper. “When I’m elected mayor I’m not going to be anybody’s mayor but their own.”
Both candidates will head to the polls early tomorrow morning to cast their ballot. They will continue to reach out voters throughout the day.