A loss for the city of Evansville; thats how city council Republican Jeff Kniese sees Tuesdays Democratic sweep of seven contested seats on the council. Kniese will now face an 8-1 Democrat majority for the next four years. After the sweep, Evansville Mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel and Democrat at-large councilman Keith Jarboe said despite the super majority, the council will still be able to provide checks on the mayors office, and host robust debate on spending and policy issues. But Kniese says that wasnt the case before the election when Dems held a 6-3 advantage, and he isnt hopeful that things will change. Kniese now sees himself as a watch dog on the council. He says he wont drag his feet for political reasons, but he will speak up when he feels the council is overspending, or overstepping its bounds. "I have no problem voicing opposition," said Kniese. Asked to explain why Republicans faired so poorly, Kniese said he didnt think the votes reflect a Democratic mandate. Voter turnout was pegged at around 20%, with nearly a quarter of the voters casting straight party ballots for the Dems. Kniese thinks the absence of a strong candidate for mayor on the Republican side is partly to blame. But hes also worried that voters didnt consider the implications of casting straight party ballots. Veteran council Republican Joe Kiefer lost his bid for reelection in the at-large race. Kniese says straight party votes made the difference, saying, "no one is going to convince me that Joe Kiefer isnt the most committed, qualified person to be on city council." Kniese says hell work hard to push spending on infrastructure, and try to reign in spending that puts the city further in debt.