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Ballot Box

Welcome to Ballot Box 2016, your source for coverage of state and local elections—with a bit of presidential politics thrown in as well. Your hosts are Hayleigh Colombo (hcolombo@ibj.com) and Lindsey Erdody (lerdody@ibj.com).
Elections / Politics / Government & Economic Development / Government

Local business owner files to challenge Hamilton County Commissioner

February 8, 2016

A last-minute candidate filing will give a first-time incumbent a challenge from a local business owner for a Hamilton County Board of Commissioners seat in May.

As first reported in our North of 96th blog, Republican Bill Smythe filed to run against Hamilton County Commissioner Mark Heirbrandt, who is running for re-election for the first time.

Heirbrandt was elected in a caucus in January 2013 to fill the District 3 seat vacated by Doug Carter, who left after being appointed superintendent of the Indiana State Police.

Smythe has owned Claude & Annie’s near S.R. 37 and 141st Street since 2001 and recently helped form the 37 Business Alliance to help unite businesses along the corridor that’s slated for a major construction project in the next few years.

The $124 million redesign of the highly congested state road from 126th to 146th streets is a project that Heirbrandt has advocated for and helped secure state dollars to finance.

Smythe has argued that details of the project have not been readily available to the public and has voiced concerns about losing business during a lengthy construction timeline that could drive customers away from the area.

The District 2 seat is also on the ballot this year. Longtime Republican Commissioner Steve Dillinger is the only candidate who has filed for the race. If elected, it will be Dillinger’s eighth term as commissioner.

The only other contested primary race in Hamilton County will be for the at-large county council positions. Republican incumbents Brad Beaver, Jim Belden and Rick McKinney are running for re-election, and retiring Fishers Police Chief George Kehl, Bill Dennis and Fall Creek Township Trustee Jeff Hern are also running for the three available seats.

Read more stories about the 2016 election at our Ballot Box page.

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