Elected Officials and City Government and Greg Ballard and Local Government and State Government and Elections and Government & Economic Development and Government

Indianapolis mayor challengers among primary hopefuls

May 2, 2011

Democrats will choose their candidate Tuesday to run against Indianapolis Republican Mayor Greg Ballard, while voters statewide pick nominees for city offices.

Former Deputy Mayor Melina Kennedy is regarded as the leading Democrat in the Indianapolis mayor's race and is far ahead of her rivals in fundraising and party support. She faces former City-County Councilman Ron Gibson and Sam Carson Sr., the little-known son of the late U.S. Rep. Julia Carson.

Ballard defeated Kennedy's former boss, then-Mayor Bart Peterson, in the 2007 election and has no opposition for the Republican nomination.

Kennedy, who lost a close race for Marion County prosecutor in 2006, has focused her attention on Ballard, saying he has enacted too many fee increases and hasn't done enough to reduce crime or reverse job losses in the city.

"He seems to be asking residents to be satisfied with the status quo, satisfied with the way things are and satisfied with less than we should be," Kennedy said.

Ballard campaign manager Megan Robertson said the mayor "has spent three years fixing problems Melina Kennedy and her administration left behind."

Current U.S. Rep. Andre Carson has endorsed Kennedy even though Sam Carson is his uncle.

Also being decided in Tuesday's primary are nominations for mayoral offices in South Bend, Evansville and Gary, where the current mayors aren't seeking re-election.

State Rep. Ryan Dvorak and Pete Buttigieg, who was the unsuccessful Democratic nominee for state treasurer last year, are the most prominent candidates seeking their party's nomination to replace South Bend Mayor Stephen Luecke, a Democrat who is stepping down after 14 years in office.

The Evansville race features Vanderburgh County Treasurer Rick Davis and former county commissioner Troy Tornatta squaring off for the Democratic nomination to succeed two-term Democratic Mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel. County Commissioner Lloyd Winnecke faces a little-known challenger for the Republican nomination.

Voters in Gary could be picking the city's first female mayor with City Councilwoman Ragen Hatcher and former state Attorney General Karen Freeman-Wilson seen as the top Democratic contenders in a city that hasn't elected a Republican leader in more than 65 years.

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