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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

Democrats fill ballot for local offices in GOP-heavy Hamilton County

August 8, 2016

Hamilton County voters will have candidates on both sides of the ballot this year.

Democrats have appointed candidates to run for all of the local offices in the heavily Republican county—something that hasn't happened since 2004. Of course, Democrats will be hoping for a better outcome this time around. In 2004, none of the Democrats won their races.

Here’s a list of who’s running this year:

  • Democrat Marie DeMore will challenge Republican Steve Dillinger in the District 2 race for Hamilton County Commissioner. If elected, it would be Dillinger’s eighth term as commissioner.
     
  • Democrat Debra Jarvis is opposing Republican Mark Heirbrandt in the District 3 race for Hamilton County Commissioner.
     
  • Democrats Edward Chu, Rosemary Dunkle and Bob Williams are running for County Council at-large. They will face Republican incumbents Brad Beaver and Rick McKinney and Republican Jeff Hern, who is the Fall Creek Township Trustee. Libertarian Duane (Dorn) Brenton is on the ticket for County Council at-large. The council has three at-large seats.
     
  • Democrat Pat Otten will run against Republican Robin Mills for auditor. In 2004, Otten unsuccessfully ran for treasurer against Republican Kim Good.
     
  • Democrat Joe Weingarten will oppose Republican Kenton Ward for surveyor.
     
  • Democrat Mark Bailey will challenge Republican Jennifer Templeton for treasurer.

In 2012—the last time all of these offices were up for grabs—no Democrats ran in the county races.

In 2008, a few Democrats were on the ballot, but none were successful. Democrat Jeff Curts ran against Dillinger for County Commissioner District 2, and Democrats Christopher Brown and Jeff Gilliam ran for County Council at-large.

Weingarten, who is running for surveyor, and Democrat Greg Purvis, who unsuccessfully ran for Fishers City Council in 2015, recently talked about the local Democratic party with IBJ Forefront contributor Larry Lannan on a podcast for Lannan’s blog Larry In Fishers. Both said the fact that Democrats filled the ballot this year is an accomplishment for the party.

“We’re giving people a reason to go out and vote for the local candidates,” Weingarten said on the podcast. “We haven’t had that reason before.”

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