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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

Indiana ballot vacancies filling up

July 21, 2016

Ballot vacancies in Indiana races are starting to fill up.

Another Republican is tossing his name into the hat for governor, and several GOP candidates have announced plans to seek the newly open congressional seats.

Indiana State Sen. Jim Tomes announced Tuesday that he would be the fourth candidate to enter the race for the gubernatorial nomination.

“It’s in my heart to run,” he told the Evansville Courier & Press. “This has been something that’s been going around and around in my head for a couple days now.”

Tomes, who represents Posey county and parts of Gibson and Vanderburgh counties in the southern part of the state, faces stiff competition for the nomination from Lt. Gov. Eric Holcomb and U.S. Reps. Susan Brooks and Todd Rokita. The Republican State Committee will meet July 26 to choose the nominee.

The seat opened up after Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump tapped Gov. Mike Pence to be his running mate. Trump and Pence were officially nominated by GOP delegates Tuesday in Cleveland.

Meanwhile, candidates are coming forward as potential replacements for Rokita and Brooks in the 4th and 5th congressional district races.

West Lafayette resident Kevin Grant, who challenged Rokita in the Republican primary earlier this year and during the 2014 cycle, has filed paperwork with the Secretary of State’s office for the 4th District ballot vacancy.

Grant is a financial consultant and adjunct professor at Harrison College and formerly served in the U.S. Army, according to his website.

The 4th District includes Benton, Carroll, Cass, Clinton, Fountain, Hendricks, Jasper, Montgomery, Newton, Putnam, Tippecanoe, Warren and White counties and part of Boone, Howard and Morgan counties.

Clayton Tomasino, CEO of Cloverdale-based Scorpion Protective Coatings, also has filed paperwork for the 4th District ballot vacancy. He is a 2002 graduate of Valparaiso University and received an MBA from the University of Indianapolis in 2011, according to his LinkedIn profile.

In the 5th District, Hamilton County Councilor Fred Glynn announced Tuesday night that he would run for the opening.

The Carmel resident is serving his first term on the County Council. Prior to being elected to the council in 2014, Glynn served as a precinct committeeman, state convention delegate, chairman if the Carmel Young Republicans and county coordinator for Gov. Mike Pence’s 2012 campaign.

The 5th District includes Hamilton, Madison and Tipton counties as well as northern Marion County, western Boone County and parts of Howard and Blackford counties.

Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard has also said he’s considering running.

Rokita and Brooks withdrew from their races in order to seek the Republican nomination for governor, but both are widely expected to be reinstated on the ballot if not chosen.

The districts’ precinct committeemen have until August 14 to fill the ballot vacancy.

On the Democratic side of ballot vacancies, Bob Kern has filed paperwork to be considered for the state’s U.S. Senate race. Kern previously ran for U.S. House seats in 2012, 2014 and earlier this year but was defeated each time in the primary. 

Baron Hill, who was the nominee, issued a statement earlier this month announcing his withdrawal from the race.

"I do not want to stand in the way of Democrats winning Indiana and the U.S. Senate,” Hill said. “That would not be fair to my party or my state. And, the stakes are far too high in this election not to put my country above my own political ambitions."

Former Sen. and Gov. Evan Bayh is also seeking the nomination and is an overwhelming favorite. The Democratic State Committee is set to meet Friday at 5 p.m. to pick Hill’s replacement.

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