Lots of interest, few races

Sunday, May 1, 2016

It's a good thing heated races for president top the Republican and Democrat ballots in the 2016 Indiana Primary Election Tuesday.

Because just one contested local race exists on either side of the political aisle -- the battle for the District 3 county commissioner spot on the Republican ballot.

That's a position held by longtime Commissioner Don Walton who is being challenged by fellow Cloverdale resident Mike Clark.

The Cloverdale town marshal, Clark is facing a challenge of his own after being charged with three counts of theft in Cass County last Thursday. How that plays out with voters remains to be seen when primary voting ends at 6 p.m. Tuesday.

Putnam County voters will go to the voting booth on Tuesday, beginning at 6 a.m., with only that contested GOP race and a handful of others at higher level of government.

In State Senate District 24 -- which includes half of Greencastle and all of northern Putnam County -- incumbent Pete Miller (R-Brownsburg) faces a challenge within the party from John Crane (R-Avon). But District 37 Sen. Rodric Bray (R-Martinsville) and District 44 State Rep. Jim Baird (R-Greencastle) are both unopposed in the GOP primary.

Originally there was a second contested Putnam County race as four candidates initially filed for three GOP nominations for at-large seats on the Putnam County Council with incumbents Gene Beck, Phil Gick and Larry Parker and challenger Jim Wright seeking those spots.

Wright, however, has since been removed from the GOP ballot after casting a Democrat vote in the last Greencastle City Primary (when interestingly enough he was running as a Republican candidate for mayor).

Unopposed local candidates include four incumbents in Putnam Circuit Court Judge Matt Headley, Auditor Lorie Hallett, Coroner Dave Brown and District 1 Commissioner Dave Berry, as well as Kathy Minnick seeking the office of Putnam County treasurer. All are Republicans.

Not a single Democrat candidate for a countywide office is listed on the ballot. However, Democrat Kim Fidler of Greencastle is seeking the District 44 state representative seat held by Rep. Baird.

Additional local offices on the GOP primary ballot find 22 people seeking 11 spots at the State Republican Convention, as well as 20 different unopposed bids for GOP precinct committeemen.

Among those, the only contested race for precinct committeeman pits the aforementioned Walton against Daniel Hofman in the Cloverdale 3 precinct.

Other contested races include the three remaining Republican candidates for U.S. president -- Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and John Kasich. Both Democrat presidential hopefuls, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, are on the Indiana primary ballot.

Gov. Mike Pence will not be opposed in his re-election bid until the fall when he will meet Democrat John Gregg for the second straight general election.

The U.S. Senate race to replace the retiring Dan Coats is between Republicans Marlin Stutzman and Todd Young, while in U.S. House District 4, incumbent Republican Todd Rokita has been challenged from within his own party by Kevin Grant.

The only other names appearing anywhere on the Democratic ballot are Gregg and Baron Hill for U.S. Senate.