Nov. 3 is a big day in a handful of places in Indiana, though the importance may not be reflected if the trend of dismally low voter turnout continues this municipal election year.
Throughout the state, there are very few competitive races for mayor, and few incumbent mayors are expected to be defeated. Columbus Mayor Kristen Brown was defeated in the May GOP primary, as was Lebanon Mayor Huck Lewis. Incumbent mayors who appear to be in tight races in next week’s general election seem to be limited to the mayors of Alexandria, Elkhart, Elwood, Jasper, Logansport, Portage and Terre Haute. Due to the retirement of Mayor Mark Kruzan in Bloomington, we expect the new mayor there to be John Hamilton.
Party control of mayoral offices across the state will likely stay the same, with one notable exception.
While it is widely known that Joe Hogsett (D) is the favorite to win the open Indianapolis mayoral election over Chuck Brewer (R), control of the city/county council remains in doubt. Following the elimination of the four at-large seats on the council, all currently held by Democrats, the fight for 13 of 25 seats is still up for grabs. It is important to note that these council district maps are new, and many incumbent councilors are running in different districts, as are councilors who are currently serving in at-large seats that will no longer exist at the end of the year.
Since the mayor’s race seems locked for Hogsett, the focus is on control of council seats. Republicans have a chance to gain control of the council if they are successful in a few key districts. District 2 is an open seat, with Kip Tew (D), an incumbent at-large councilor, running against Colleen Fanning (R). District 3 has incumbent Christine Scales (R) running against current at-large councilor Pam Hickman (D). Finally, District 16 has incumbent Jeff Miller (R) running in a new district against Emily Shrock (D). These appear to be the swing district races, and all are coin tosses at this time.
Running unopposed in the doughnut counties are Mayor Jim Brainard in Carmel, Mayor Joe McGuinness in Franklin, Mayor Mark Myers in Greenwood and Mayor John Ditslear in Noblesville. All are Republicans.