Every election cycle has its own unique characteristics and personality as potential candidates jockey for position in an effort to garner support.

This election cycle could be shaping up to be remembered as one of wait and see what develops over the next few weeks.

A common theme in almost every election cycle is for candidates to declare their intentions early on to keep potential opponents for filing for the primary election ballot.

The theory has always been file early so that opponents believe, rightly or wrongly, that a particular candidate has been working to lock up support among party precinct workers.

When I first started reporting on politics in Madison County in 1978, the party organization, particularly within the Democratic Party was strong.

There were the affectionately known “Dirty Dozen” among the precinct workers. To run a successful campaign it was crucial to have the support of precinct committeemen.

Today, it seems like candidates are no longer trying to lure support from either political party organization. Sometimes the party chairmen don’t know who is considering running for office.

As of Friday, only nine people have filed for the May primary election, among them only two Democrats.

Thus far there are no challenges to nominations in either party, but for months and continuing presently, there are expected to be several for county office nominations.

If there are contested nominations, they are likely to take place for the Middle District Commissioner seat within the Republican Party and for one or more nominations for judge.

Several people who are interested in running for these positions are sitting on the fence, perhaps waiting to see who else files for the respective nominations — or maybe, who doesn’t.

Incumbent Republican Mike Phipps, who spearheaded changes in the maps for the Commissioner districts, is expected to have a challenger no matter what the final outcome is through the court proceedings.

At least one potential challenger for Phipps is taking a wait and see approach.

The same scenario is playing out in Madison Circuit Court Division 5, where incumbent Democrat Tom Clem is retiring.

Jason Childers has announced and has filed for the GOP nomination. Democrat Kyle Noone is expected to declare his candidacy in the next few days.

Both are expected to face primary challenges.

Somewhat surprising is that this fence sitting appears to have carried over in both parties for the 5th Congressional District nominations with the retirement of incumbent Republican Susan Brooks.

Since her announcement, numerous names have surfaced about who would seek the respective party nominations.

So far the two candidates expected to battle it out in November, Republican Kelly Mitchell and Democrat Christine Hale, have not filed with the Indiana Secretary of State’s office.

Now there is little doubt both women will file for the respective nominations, but the longer they wait, the more challengers seem to appear.

Will this election be remembered for the wait and see theme?

Senior Reporter Ken de la Bastide’s column publishes Sundays. Contact him at ken.delabastide@heraldbulletin.com or 765-640-4863.

Senior Reporter covering Anderson and Madison County government, politics and auto racing for The Herald Bulletin. Has been working as a journalist in central Indiana since 1977.

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