ANDERSON – Filing for the May 6 primary began Wednesday with 11 candidates, including four potential sheriff candidates, declaring their candidacy.
The last day to file election paperwork is noon on Feb. 8 at the Madison County Clerk’s Office.
There will also be nominations on the primary ballot for seats on the Pendleton, Ingalls and Lapel town councils and for all township trustee and township board positions.
Four incumbent Republicans were among the first to declare their candidacies for re-election. Darlene Likens will seek a second term as Madison County clerk, Kelly Gaskill as treasurer and Steffanie Owens as South District Madison County commissioner. Linda Smith, who was appointed Madison County recorder, will be seeking her party’s nomination.
The Republican Party currently holds 11 of the 15 positions in Madison County government following the 2010 off-year elections.
The GOP also controls three of the four local seats in the Indiana House and one of the two seats in the Indiana Senate.
The race expected to attract a lot of attention in the May primary is for Madison County sheriff. Ron Richardson, a Democrat, is ineligible to seek a third term. There will be contested primaries for both political parties following the first day of filing.
Bruce Dunham, the current chairman of the Anderson Board of Public Safety and a 24-year member of the Madison County Sheriff’s Department, is seeking the GOP nomination for sheriff. Elwood Police Chief Sam Hanna filed for the party’s nomination.
On the Democratic Party ballot, Brian Bell, a major on the Madison County Sheriff’s Department, filed for the nomination on Wednesday, joined by former Sheriff Scott Mellinger.
At stake is control of the Madison County Council, which currently has a 4-to-3 Democratic Party majority. Democrats John Bostic and Buddy Patterson are up for re-election along with two Republicans, David McCartney and Rick Gardner.
Democrat Larry Higgins filed for the party’s nomination in District 4 on the council; the seat is currently held by Gardner.
Russ Willis, chairman of the Madison County Republican Party, said he hopes people realize the good job those elected officials have done since 2010.
“They have done a good job and will continue if re-elected,” he said.
Willis said he has had conversations with potential candidates for the county council seats and the judgeship of Circuit Court, Division 2.
During the 2010 and 2012 election cycles there was some contention between mainstream Republicans and the tea party organization in the county.
“Republicans appreciate some of the positions of the tea party group,” Willis said. “Not necessarily all of their positions. There needs to be a balance.
“The Republican Party can provide representation for that voting bloc,” he said.
Willis said the issue in the past was the process of nominating candidates and not on the party’s position on the issues facing the county.
“We’re focusing on all races,” Ludy Watkins, the chairman of the Madison County Democratic Party, said Tuesday. “We’re looking for people interested in running right now. We’ve had a couple of candidate meetings.”
Watkins said the 2010 election was a tough year for Democratic Party candidates in Madison County and around the nation.
“It has to be better,” she said of the 2014 election cycle.
Two Republicans filed for township offices. Phil Herbig filed for the Anderson Township trustee nomination and Stephen Schuyler filed for a board seat in Adams Township.
Follow Ken de la Bastide @KendelaBastide on Twitter, or call 640-4863.
These are the political offices that will be contested in the May 6 primary election in Madison County, according to the Madison County Clerk's office. U.S. Representative 5th District State Senator, District 25 State Senator, District 26 State Representative, District 32 State Representative, District 35 State Representative, District 36 State Representative, District 53 Judge of Circuit Court, Division 1 Judge of Circuit Court, Division 2 Judge of Circuit Court, Division 4 Judge of Circuit Court, Division 5 Madison County Prosecuting Attorney Madison County Clerk Madison County Recorder Madison County Treasurer Madison County Sheriff Madison County Assessor Madison County Commissioner, South District Madison County Council, District 1 Madison County Council, District 2 Madison County Council, District 3 Madison County Council, District 4 Ingalls Town Council, at large (2 seats) Lapel Town Council, at large (2 seats) Pendleton Town Council, District 3 Pendleton Town Council, at large Adams Township, trustee and three board members Anderson Township, trustee and three board members Boone Township, trustee and three board members Duck Creek Township, trustee and three board members Fall Creek Township, trustee and three board members Green Township, trustee and three board members Jackson Township, trustee and three board members Lafayette Township, trustee and three board members Monroe Township, trustee and three board members Pipe Creek Township, trustee and three board members Stony Creek Township, trustee and three board members Union Township, trustee and three board members Van Buren Township, trustee and three board members