Changes to come in 2018 political season

With the new year 2018 comes the beginning of a new political season. Candidate filing for 52 state and local offices begins Jan. 10. The primary election will be May 8, and as usual in Hamilton County, most of the action will be on the Republican side in the primary. But, Democrats also claim they will have some names on the ballot this year.

In the important May voting, candidates will be chosen for at least five major offices being vacated by incumbents. The county will select a new state representative in District 29 where Rep. Kathy Richardson is not running for re-election.

Garen Bragg, Chuck Goodrich and Greg O’Connor have announced their plans to seek the seat in the GOP primary. Also showing interest is Noblesville resident Mark Hall.

Candidates for judge in Superior Court 1 will be chosen to replace the retiring Judge Steve Nation. Nation has not officially announced his retirement, but at least two potential candidates are known to have expressed interest in running.

County Clerk Tammy Baitz is also retiring. Ms. Richardson plans to seek nomination for that vacated position.

Sheriff Mark Bowen ends his two terms allowed by law at the end of 2018. Four candidates have announced intentions to seek the GOP nomination for sheriff. They are: Bill Clifford, Eddie Moore, Mitch Russell and Jason Sloderbeck.

Two Republican candidates are already in the field hoping to replace County Councilman Paul Ayers who is leaving the council at the end of his term. Ken Alexander and Rick Sharp have indicated they will run.

Township trustees and township board members in all nine of the county’s townships are up for nomination in May. So far Noblesville Township’s Tom Kenley and Clay Township’s Doug Callahan have said they will run again. Their board members are expected to follow suit.

Other offices at stake in 2018 are state legislative seats held by Reps. Tony Cook, Donna Schaibley, Jerry Torr and Sen. Mike Delph. All are expected to run again but have not officially announced.

The offices of Prosecuting Attorney, County Assessor, County Recorder and County Coroner are also up. Prosecutor Lee Buckingham is known to be planning to seek re-election as is Coroner John Chalfin. Incumbent Assessor Robin Ward and Recorder Jennifer Hayden have not yet announced their intentions.

All current officeholders are Republicans. No Democrat has yet announced for office.

Non-partisan school board members who formerly were elected at the time of the primary are now not to be chosen until the November general election.