Hamilton County mayoral races include one Libertarian, no Democrats

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No Hamilton County mayor will face a Democratic challenger this fall, but Westfield Mayor Andy Cook will be opposed by a Libertarian.

Hamilton County Democratic Party Chair Joe Weingarten told IBJ the party, which is looking to become more relevant in the Republican-heavy suburbs, is focusing on council seats this election and hopes to work up to higher offices in coming years.

Without an independent or Libertarian candidate running against them so far (the deadline to file is July 1 for independents and July 3 for Libertarians), Fishers Mayor Scott Fadness, Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard and Chris Jensen, a Noblesville City Councilor who won the Republican primary for mayor, will run unopposed in November and take office in January.

Jensen will succeed four-term Mayor John Ditslear, a Republican. Brainard will win a seventh term leading Carmel after a nasty primary, and Fadness, Fishers' first mayor, will win a second full term. 

Meanwhile, Westfield’s Cook, who ran unopposed in the primary for a fourth term, faces a challenge from Libertarian Donald Rainwater, who previously ran for the District 24 Indiana House seat.

Rainwater, a former teacher, had originally filed to run for Westfield City Council but later decided to run for mayor.

Among issues listed on Rainwater’s website for his campaign is Grand Park, which he believes should be privatized. The youth sports campus has attracted some $700 million of economic development to the city, but the tax increment finance district established to help pay the campus’ debt has yet to generate enough funding to cover bond payments.

He also takes issue with the proposed $35 million Grand Junction Plaza, a public park expected to be constructed downtown. Westfield is currently taking construction bids for the project, but Rainwater believes it should be sold to a private investor to spur additional business investment in the area.

Cook sees the park as a legacy project that will attract families to move to Westfield for years to come. He also sees it as an economic development tool, much like he sees Grand Park. 

The election is Nov. 5.

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