Sheila Klinker is expected to beat her childhood friend turned friendly rival, James Hass, for state House District 27.

While the winner in the race hasn’t been declared as of 1 a.m. Wednesday, Klinker leads in the district by 30 points with 51% of the vote reporting, the New York Times reported.

Hass, a Republican who trailed 40-year incumbent Klinker by just over 20% in Tippecanoe County, said he’s known Klinker since he was a child. Klinker will become the longest-serving Indiana state representative in state history next year.

"I met my opponent when I was 7,” Hass, 65, said. “She lived across the street and down four houses.”

Klinker, 83, confirmed this, saying their parents had also been good friends.

Klinker secured her 21st re-election and ran on a platform of improving state-wide mental health programs, increasing funding for education and defending abortion rights.

“Mental health is important for our young voters,” Klinker said, emphasizing its importance in her campaign, “especially after the COVID-19 lockdowns.”

Klinker’s opponent, Hass, ran on a platform of fostering understanding between the parties and creating jobs.

“I want to live in a place that has a future, that’s flourishing and treats people well,” Hass said.

Klinker said she enjoys representing an area that she believes already gets along, disagreeing with Hass in a separate statement that voters of District 27 are divided.

“This is just a wonderful area to represent.”

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