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Without opposition, election could be cancelled

By DARRELL SMITH - dsmith@newsexaminer.com

With a deadline of noon today to get on the Primary Election ballot, there’s a chance the election might not be necessary.

Three more candidates had filed for the city election’s May 7 primary by Wednesday evening. In a primary, people nominate themselves. In the election, voters in the Republican and Democratic parties decide who will be on their party’s ballot in the fall. Independents and third-party candidates are not included in the primary. 

But with the mayor, clerk-treasurer and all city council positions open, no one in either the Democratic or Republican parties had an opponent. If that remains the case through the filing deadline of noon today, it would be possible to cancel the election, according to Lisa Mays Witt, the county’s chief election official.

By the end of business on Wednesday, Republicans who had filed for election to City Council included Clarence Werner in Council District 1, Jennifer E. Barrett in District 2, Bill Gray in District 4, David Nutty in District 5 and Mike Bishop, at-large.

Christopher Lephew has filed as a Democrat for one of two at-large positions, joining Democrats Connie Durham, District 1, and Debbie Montgomery, District 3, who seek a return their seats.

They join Mayor Harold Gordon, who is seeking re-election on the Democratic ballot, and Chad Frank, a council member who wants to be the Republican candidate for mayor.

Clerk-treasurer Rosemary Risch Brown, a Republican, has filed for re-election. 

But if no one files to run against the candidates in any of the races, then there does not need to be a primary, which would save city taxpayers a few thousand dollars, Witt said.

She contacted the Indiana Secretary of State’s elections office Wednesday, confirming that there would not have to be a primary if there is no race with opposition.

However, either major party chair could still call for a primary by filing with the clerk by noon Feb. 15. Party chairs can fill vacancies on the ballot not filled in the primary up to noon June 30.

Independent and third-party candidates have until July 1 to get on the city ballot. Write-in candidates have until July 3.