Fact checking the candidates for Evansville’s mayor

Fact checking candidates for mayor
Published: Nov. 2, 2023 at 6:44 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - We’re taking a look at the claims made by the candidates for Evansville mayor in 14 News’ virtual town hall that took place Wednesday night.

Through the hour-long discussion, Republican Natalie Rascher, Libertarian Michael Daugherty and Democrat Stephanie Terry talked about a variety of topics.

Let’s start with campaign spending.

“I’ve ran my campaign on $35,000 to $40,000 compared to the millions of dollars of my opponents,” Daugherty said.

The candidate’s financial statements are public record. Daugherty is correct in his claim, as those records show he’s received just over $37,000 in campaign contributions.

Rascher has received more than a million dollars in contributions. Terry’s records show she’s received just south of half a million.

Both Rascher and Terry have received contributions from CenterPoint Energy, which they acknowledged in our town hall.

Continuing with CenterPoint, one viewer asked about high energy rates.

“You’re correct in that we do have some of the highest rates in the state,” Rascher said.

IURC data backs up what Rascher is saying. Looking at all Indiana electric providers, CenterPoint charges the most, and is consistently near the top in natural gas prices as well.

Transitioning to public safety, the candidates were asked about crime by several viewers.

“Last year I think homicides were up, this year they have decreased some, and that’s because of the intentionality of our local law enforcement officials,” Terry said.

Evansville Police back this up, saying there have been six murder investigations this year, compared to 17 in 2022 and 17 in 2021.

“Evansville ranks 40th in the nation for violent crimes,” Daugherty said.

This statistic is from a study published by the National Council for Home Safety and Security. However, that study was done in 2019 and requires more context.

Evansville ranked 40th on the list for most dangerous “large cities.” That was measured by what’s called a crime score, which counts the rate of crime, not the total number of crimes. For example Chicago, which has 490 murders in 2019, wasn’t even in the top 100 of this “most dangerous large city” list.

Finally let’s shift to plans for public transportation, specifically a question from a viewer about improving the METS bus system.

“Over the last five to six years, we’ve seen a decrease in the number of routes, we’ve seen a decrease in the number of drivers,” Daugherty said.

Evansville Transportation Executive Director Todd Robertson backs this up, saying they’ve had crisis moments this year due to a driver shortage.

He says they also had to cut routes during the pandemic that never came back due to low demand. Although Robertson says they’re beginning to rebound and are adding drivers, public transportation has caused headaches this year.

With viewers guiding our town hall, neither attack ad was mentioned, but it’s something we’ll keep an eye on as election day approaches.

Election day is November 7.

You can watch the entire town hall here.