Mills wins tight race

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By Stephen Lega

Terry Mills of Lebanon will be the next state representative from the 24th District.

Mills won a closely contested special election Feb. 2. He will succeed Jimmy Higdon as the representative for Casey and Marion counties and part of Pulaski County.

Mills received 3,001 votes to Johnson's 2,518 votes, according to the unofficial totals on the Secretary of State's website.

Out of 26,141 registered voters in the district, 5,519 cast ballots. That is a turnout of 21.1 percent, according to the Secretary of State's office.

Mills and his supporters gathered at Chaser's in Lebanon as the results came in.

"I'm a little overwhelmed, grateful, tired and honored more than I should be," he said.

Mills added that he hasn't done anything yet, and gave the voters credit.

"I hope to be the best legislator I can," he said.

Johnson called Mills around 7:40 p.m. to congratulate him.

"Mr. Johnson was very gracious and I complimented him for the kind of race he ran," Mills said.

Mills added that he felt they both campaigned the way candidates should.

"We talked about ourselves and let the voters decide," he said. "I was just lucky tonight. I came out on top."

Johnson identified voter turnout as a factor in the election in comments to The Casey County News.

"There was great support in Casey and Pulaski, but just not enough turnout," Johnson told The Casey County News. "The Marion County voters just got out there."

Johnson is on the ballot in May and will face M.G. "Bill" Pickerill of Lebanon for the Republican nomination and the right to face Mills again in November for the regular term.

"Between now and May, I'm going to keep my name out there and keep campaigning," Johnson told The Casey County News. "There just wasn't enough time in the special election to let the people in Marion County know who I am. I plan to change that."