Moderate voter turnout expected for primary
If absentee turnout is any indication, voters in Tuesday's primary election can expect company at their polling places, but no long waits.
With the absentee period ending today at noon, Putnam County Clerk Marty Watts told the Banner Graphic early turnout has been solid, but not overwhelming.
"It could be busier, however, it has built up some steam throughout the course of the month," Watts said. "We are just kind of coasting along. Now we have some county races -- council and commissioner races -- that are generating some interest, but not like for the presidential."
Of course, 2008 took the blue ribbon for presidential interest, as the Democrat nomination was still up in the air for Indiana's early May primary.
This year, President Barack Obama is unopposed on the Democrat ticket. Mitt Romney is the presumptive nominee for the Republicans, even with opponents Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul and Rick Santorum still on the ballot.
Voters should make no mistake about the lack of presidential competition -- four contested races remain on the Putnam County Republican ballot, while one remains on the Democrat side.
Locally, the Republican Party must still choose one nominee for County Commissioner District 1 and three nominees for County Council At-Large.
David Berry, Rodney Fenwick and Jake Zaring all seek the Commissioner District 1 nod. For council, six candidates seek the three spots -- Gene Beck, Tina Fogle, Phil Gick, Ty Hampe, Larry Parker and Stephanie Summitt-Campbell.
Republicans will also choose between incumbent Richard Lugar and Richard Mourdock for U.S. senator.
In State Senate District 37, Rodric Bray and Ryan Goodwin seek the nomination to replace the retiring Richard Bray.
For State Senate District 24, the situation is slightly different. Connie Lawson remains on the ballot, but she accepted the post of secretary of state in March. A caucus to replace Lawson on the November ballot will take place later in May.
Local Republicans running unopposed include Jim Baird for State Representative District 44, Lorie Hallet for county auditor, Sharon Owens for county treasurer, Dave Brown for coroner and Don Walton for District 3 Commissioner.
The only contested race on the Putnam County Democratic ballot is for U.S. Representative District 4, between Lester Moore and Tara Nelson.
Local Democrat candidates running without opposition are Wilma Phipps for auditor and Jeffrey Blaydes for District 1 Commissioner.