EAST CHICAGO, Ind. – Mayor Robert Pastrick (search) will not finish his ninth term in office after conceding defeat in a court-mandated special Democratic primary ordered because of corruption allegations.
Pastrick, 76, lost Tuesday to George Pabey (search), who successfully mounted a court challenge to Pastrick's primary victory 17 months ago.
The final, unofficial numbers showed Pabey with 6,545 votes or 65 percent, compared with Pastrick's 3,465 votes, or 34 percent.
"As the good Lord says, there's a beginning and there's an end," Pastrick told supporters. "We started in the beginning together, and I believe that we were honorable. I believe we had faith in our community."
Pabey faces Republican Arthur Santos in a general election Dec. 28.
"All of us together in this room can change East Chicago," Pabey said at a rally.
The election in the city of about 31,700 people was watched closely by state and federal officials after the Indiana Supreme Court ruled in August that there was widespread corruption by Pastrick's campaign during the May 2003 primary. Pabey received more votes at polling places that day, but Pastrick won the election because of absentee ballots.
There were also questions about the 1999 Democratic primary. Three city officials pleaded guilty earlier this month to federal fraud and conspiracy charges, admitting to taking part in a vote-buying scheme in the 1999 mayoral race. Three others are on trial.
Indiana Secretary of State Todd Rokita helped monitor the special election, calling it "an example of what can be accomplished when you shine the light of democracy on a troubled system."