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Area Voters Tired of Election Dispute

April 23, 1985

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (AP) _ The disputed 8th District congressional election may be a hot issue in Washington, but many voters back home say they exhausted their political passion long ago and only want the contest to end.

″I’m getting disgusted with the whole system,″ said Virgil Whaley of Evansville. ″Between the lawyers and the politicians on both sides, it’s been a big mess.″

″People...just want it to be over,″ said Arville Redman of Mount Vernon.

The race pitted first-term Democratic incumbent Frank McCloskey against Republican Rick McIntyre, neither of whom was well-known outside the district until the election deadlock.

The House Administration Committee on Tuesday recommended 12-0 that McCloskey be named the winner. All seven Republicans walked out in protest. A General Accounting Office recount showed McCloskey the winner by four votes.

In March, Evansville voters greeted the start of the federal recount with a ″tea party″ at which about 400 people turned out to complain that the lack of a congressman amounted to taxation without representation.

The complaint was taken up by the Evansville Press, which began running a daily drawing on its editorial page showing a vacant chair and the number of days the district had been without a representative.

The cartoon is still running at Day 112, but editor Tom Tuley said public interest in the dispute appears to be diminishing.

″We’re not getting near the number of letters we were,″ he said. ″It looks like people have gotten tired of the whole episode, that and a little disgusted.″

The idea of a special election, which House Republicans say is the only fair way of settling the race, has received little support from voters.

″This thing has been going on for so long already,″ said Karen Trible of Elberfeld. ″I’d hate to see it go on any longer.″

″I think we could have another election and run into the same thing again,″ said Eldon Bates of Evansville.

The district’s party leaders have already turned their attention to the 1986 election.

″People are kind of disgusted with how this one was settled,″ said GOP District Chairman John Lindley.

Lindley predicted the controversy would improve McIntyre’s chances in 1986.″I think it’s going to make the Republicans work a lot harder to show them (the Democrats),″ he said.

Democratic State Chairman John Livengood said he expected an all-out attempt by Republicans to unseat McCloskey next year.

But he doubted the dispute would be remembered by most voters in the next election.

″I think that in the long run it should not be much of a liability,″ he said.

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