(Rising Sun, Ind.) – At 29-year-old, Brandon Roeder realized one of his life goals that most people in the position don’t accomplish until they are 20 or 30 years older.
Roeder pulled off a surprise, albeit slim, win for Mayor of Rising Sun in Tuesday’s election. Out of more than 760 votes, the born-and-raised fourth generation Rising Sun resident has a five vote lead over incumbent Democrat Mayor Bill Marksberry after a count of provisional ballots.
With other city Republicans and their families spending Election Night at Heritage Hall, Roeder kept receiving good news on the tallies via text message.
“We really didn’t have any idea what the counts were. At one point I heard I was up a few. Then next time I heard it was really close. We all just tried to talk and keep our minds off it,” Roeder said Wednesday.
While observers may have been surprised at the Ohio County Elementarty-Middle School teacher's win over an entrenched two-term mayor, he wasn’t.
“I feel like I was a strong candidate. People feel like I’ll do the right thing for the town. I thought it would turn out to be a close race,” he said.
As one of the city’s youngest mayors ever – Mark Guard was also 29 when elected and eventually ousted by Roeder’s grandfather, John Roeder, Sr., in the 2000 election – Roeder had the task of turning around voters’ perceptions that his youth wouldn’t make him a good mayor.
“When I was campaigning people would stop and ask me about it,” he said. “I think I turned some people around because I asked them to question me on anything. They questioned me and I think I changed a lot of their minds that way because I was very informative on what I knew.”
Roeder said he made becoming a mayor a life goal when he was a senior in high school. He also drew on his grandfather for inspiration in running for mayor.
“I decided I was going to be a teacher when I was in second grade, then Grandpa became mayor and I decided that was going to be my goal,” he said.
John Roeder, Sr. stepped down as mayor in 2003 as he battled cancer. He would die just months later.
With a new perspective coming to the mayor’s office, the city could see some changes. Roeder said he wants to get the mayor’s office and city council on the same page.
“More minds are better than one or two,” he said.
Roeder would also like to start a city website where city residents can submit their concerns and ideas.
The biggest issues on Roeder’s agenda for the next four years will be making sure a planned new hotel at Rising Star Casino is properly budgeted for, having the city assist in keeping the Rising Sun Medical Center in operation.
He plans to get in touch with the leaders at Rising Star Casino soon to begin developing a relationship.
Roeder said this close election hasn’t caused any hard feelings between him and Marksberry.
“I talked to Bill today. He came into my classroom and we talked a little bit. He said that he is not 100 percent sure if he is going to ask for a recount or not,” Roeder said.
If he does opt for a recount, Marksberry has 14 days from this week’s election to petition for a recount. Marksberry would have to make a cash deposit to pay for the cost of the recount.
“I followed my goals. Hopefully with this recount the goal will become true,” Roeder said.