Mueller, Democrats dominate in St. Joseph county elections
Observer Staff Report | Friday, November 10, 2023
On Tuesday Democratic incumbent James Mueller was elected to a second term as South Bend’s mayor, defeating Republican opponent Desmont Upchurch. Mueller received 72.83% of the vote to Upchurch’s 27.17%, according to the St. Joseph County website.
Mueller, who graduated from Notre Dame in 2004, succeeded former mayor and current United States Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg when he was first elected mayor in Nov. 2019. In 2019, Mueller received 63.4% of the vote.
The campaign of Mueller’s opponent, Upchurch, had been mired in controversy after he admitted to having hit a woman who he was dating over 20 years ago. Mueller refused to debate Upchurch on this account, arguing he didn’t want to normalize domestic violence.
Democrats dominated the election broadly, winning the race for South Bend city clerk and all common council seat races. Republicans failed to run a candidate in common council districts 3, 4 and 6. Democrats now control all common council seats in the city.
In Mishawaka, incumbent Republican Dave Wood ran unopposed and was reelected. Democrats, however, won the race for city clerk and won 7 of 9 common council seats. Wood has faced controversy after his son received a DUI and was recorded saying a racial slur.