The coronavirus outbreak prompted Indiana officials to delay the state’s primary from its original May 5 date until June 2, with fewer in-person polling sites than normal planned and record levels of mail-in voting occurring. Indiana has 82 pledged delegates for the Democratic presidential nomination.
Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders are among nine candidates who are listed on the Indiana primary ballot. All except Biden have dropped out of the race. That includes former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who dropped out of the race in March and endorsed Biden.
Indiana has no challenged races for statewide elected offices in this year’s primary, with Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb and Democratic business executive Woody Myers unopposed for their party nominations.
Big fields of candidates are seeking nominations for the congressional seats being given up by Democratic Rep. Pete Visclosky in northwestern Indiana and Republican Rep. Susan Brooks in central Indiana. Visclosky represents a safe Democratic district. Democrats see a chance of capturing the Brooks seat from Republicans in the November election as the district’s suburban Indianapolis areas have become less solidly GOP. The most prominent Republican primary candidates are tying themselves closely to President Donald Trump.
Early voting in Monroe County began this week, and Indiana's June 2 primary election is fast approaching. Here are statements from local and statewide candidates on Monroe County ballots.
An asterisk* next to a candidate's name denotes incumbency. Responses have been edited for clarity and conciseness.
Governor of Indiana
Dr. Woodrow (Woody) Myers
From the Myers campaign: "I’m running to be Governor of Indiana, because our state needs new leadership that puts people over politics. As Governor, I will fight to ensure that all Hoosiers can access affordable health care, students receive a high-quality education, we protect our environment, and our workers have good-paying jobs across Indiana.
I am a third-generation Hoosier, a physician, former Indiana State Health Commissioner, business owner, husband, father, and grandfather. As a physician, I saw first-hand the inequities in our health care system and the impact quality, affordable health care can have. As the first African-American State Health Commissioner of Indiana, I lead our state through the HIV/AIDS crisis; working with Democratic and Republican governors."
Gov. Eric Holcomb*
From the Holcomb campaign: "Governor Holcomb is focused—first and foremost—on leading Indiana during this pandemic. Because of the governor’s leadership, we’ll weather this storm and Indiana will be back on track. Governor Holcomb’s efforts to create over 100,000 new jobs and maintain a strong surplus had Indiana in a strong place before the pandemic and that economic strength will help us accelerate our recovery and allow us to come back stronger than ever.
He’ll keep his focus on where it has been since day one of his administration: record breaking jobs and wage numbers, declining infant mortality and drug overdose rates, strengthening our infrastructure, education and workforce training and providing great government service.”
U.S. Representative, District 9
D. Liam Dorris
We did not receive a statement from the Dorris campaign by the time of publication.
We did not receive a statement from the Hood campaign by the time of publication.
Hood has been accused of sexual harassment by one of his former campaign workers.
James C. O'Gabhann III
We did not receive a statement from the O'Gabhann campaign by the time of publication.
Mark J. Powell
From the Powell campaign: "Why am I running? Who will speak up for the Middle Class? You have an ADVOCATE in POWELL!!! In the first 100 days of my term I will author The Powell PANDEMIC Protection Plan for the Middle Class: If Wall Street can get TRILLIONS the Middle Class must get Our Fair Share!!!"
From the Ruff campaign: "Andy Ruff is an experienced legislator with a progressive platform that is in tune with the needs of ordinary Hoosiers. He served as a voice for the working people of Bloomington for twenty years as their representative on the City Council. As a city councilman, Andy worked closely with community leaders and activists to push progressive policy such as Indiana’s first Living Wage Ordinance, which effectively raised the minimum wage to $10.00 for many workers in 2005.
Now Andy Ruff is running to bring true representation back to Indiana’s 9th District with the support of the former Indiana Speaker of the House and 2-time Democratic nominee for Governor, John Gregg, and former candidate for Congress, Dan Canon. Our campaign organization has a sophisticated campaign strategy that is nimble and able to make campaigning adjustments, given the difficulty of campaigning during the public health crisis."
From the Hollingsworth campaign: "Serving you, your family, and your future is my priority. In 2016, I was inspired to run for Congress because as a small business owner, I was frustrated with burdensome and expensive government regulations and career politicians who have never held a real job.
I have now represented Indiana’s Ninth Congressional District for two terms, and my priorities in Congress are all about you: making sure Washington works for you through government reform legislation, promoting workforce training and small business success, especially now during this pandemic, so everyone has a pathway to a bright future, and addressing the overspending in Washington which will quickly become the debt of our children and grandchildren if it is not addressed. These are the issues I work on every day to ensure Hoosiers' futures are the best they can be."
Indiana State Senator, District 40
Trent Feuerbach (D)
From the Feuerbach campaign: "I am running for Indiana State Senate in Bloomington and Monroe County because we can do better by putting 'people first.' I will insist to keep government out of our bedrooms and doctor's offices, and I will fight discrimination. I will seek to defend and further enhance the individual, constitutional and civil rights of everyone regardless of national origin, race, color, religion, disability, sex, familial status or sexual orientation.
As a former victim of violent crime myself, I will NEVER seek to have government ban, register or confiscate your family's firearms or infringe on or undermine our successful long-standing protected rights as people. And again, I will emphasize and prioritize the rights and needs of 'people first.'"
Shelli Yoder (D)
From the Yoder campaign: "For over two decades as an educator, nonprofit leader, and elected official, I have been steadfastly committed to collaborative leadership in education, job training, health care for all, elimination of poverty, affordable housing, and community engagement to advance sustainable growth and responsive government. Serving on the Monroe County Council for much of the last decade, I know well the responsibilities of governing, and I know that the public’s trust is sacred.
If you send me to the statehouse in Indianapolis, you will be sending a proven progressive leader who will fight to improve healthcare for all, protect public education, defend reproductive justice, and combat the climate crisis."
John Zody (D)
We did not receive a statement from the Zody campaign by the time of publication.
Indiana State Senator, District 44
Erich Koch (R)*
We did not receive a statement from the Koch campaign by the time of publication.
Indiana State Representative, District 46
Bob Heaton (R)*
We did not receive a statement from the Heaton campaign by the time of publication.
Indiana State Representative, District 60
Tiffany Grant (D)
From the Grant campaign: "I am a candidate who firmly believes there is a place at the table for every single person in the state. I am committed to representing those who cannot be at the table themselves for any reason. Platform:
- Education - increased funding with a stronger emphasis on student success in the budget - We need to provide more money to direct services for students which will reduce class size and provide more opportunities for students to overcome obstacles.
- Health Care - provide access to affordable health care (separate from employment) for every Indiana resident - Health care is a human right. Every person should be able to receive health care to live his/her/their best life.
- Employment - build opportunities for everyone to have a job that provides a living wage - We need to increase the minimum wage and build better connections to trade schools and post-secondary education. By providing a living wage, more people can be engaged in their families, communities, and government."
Peggy Mayfield (R)*
Rep. Mayfield declined our request for a statement.
Dave Rinehart (R)
From the Rhinehart campaign: "I believe I started gaining experiences early in life from delivering newspapers, mowing lawns, as a high school kid working at Frisch’s Big Boy, I’ve been self-employed as a Barber, served in the National Guard and am retired from Allison Transmission. I’m presently a mail courier for HomeBank, I just finished up my 23rd year as a Sports Broadcaster for WCBK Radio, I was a high school sports official for over 25 years and I’ve been involved with youth sports for over three decades.
I care about our public schools, our teachers. I’m concerned about citizens having healthcare, the substance abuse problems among our adults and children, veterans' care, homelessness among children and adults, clean air and clean water, child abuse, quality jobs, roads and troubles that area farmers are encountering daily."
Indiana State Representative, District 61
Matt Pierce (D)*
We did not receive a statement from the Pierce campaign by the time of publication.
Indiana State Representative, District 62
Alyssa Bailey (D)
We did not receive a statement from the Bailey campaign by the time of publication.
Jeff Ellington (R)*
From the Ellington campaign: "Out of the primary candidates, I am the only one who's been endorsed by the NRA. I have an A rating. I’m also the only one that’s been endorsed by the statewide Indiana Right To Life, and I’m the only one that got endorsed by the ICOC. I’m an Indiana Farm Bureau member. I sit on the vice-chair of natural resources that takes care of the parks and hunting laws and codes.
What got me back in the state government was Obama’s stagnant economy with the worst growth since WWII in 08-09. I wanted to take my business and economics skills to the statehouse to create jobs, which we’ve been able to accomplish."
Greg Knott (R)
From the Knott campaign: "Voters opposed to Bloomington’s new Climate Tax, should vote Knott for State Representative. My plan will reform the current system of taxation without representation where the city council could enact the tax alone without any vote by the county or towns into a countywide voter referendum.
Pro-life voters should look at the candidate surveys on Hoosiers For Life where I received a 100% and my opponent scored zero (and he was also called out by the group for lying on a previous survey). I’m also the choice of pro-gun voters favoring Constitutional Carry, and those favoring term limits."
Indiana State Representative, District 65
Paula Staley (D)
From the Staley campaign: "I'm Hoosier born and raised. As a registered nurse and a public health expert, I know what it will take to recover from the current health crisis. I will fight hard for healthcare as a human right. I know we can build a healthcare safety net in Indiana in a sensible way and ensure that our public health infrastructure is strong.
I commit to having regular town halls in the District, so constituents can keep me informed about their issues, and I can keep them informed about my work in the Statehouse. I will fight hard to support our public schools and to bring good paying jobs to the District, and to protect our environment."
Chris May (R)*
We did not receive a statement from the May campaign by the time of publication.
Judge of the Monroe Circuit Court, 10th Judicial Circuit, No. 5
Jeff Kehr (D)
From the Kehr campaign: "I am currently the First Deputy Prosecuting Attorney, a position I’ve held for the last 10 years. I also teach criminal law and procedure to police officers and other prosecutors. I believe that honest public service is a means by which positive social change is achieved. I have the skills, character, and temperament to serve the public as a forward-thinking judge. Our courts must adapt and serve the needs of our community.
I have the quality of experience to help our community and bring a fresh progressive perspective to the bench. I want to continue making a positive impact on my community, but in a different way than I am now."
Kara Elaine Krothe (D)
From the Krothe campaign: "Monroe County Deputy Public Defender Kara Krothe is seeking the nomination of the Democratic Party for judge in Monroe Circuit Court Seat V left vacant when Judge Kenneth Todd retired in 2018. Krothe is running for judge because she believes her experience and integrity lend themselves to upholding the law in a fair and impartial manner.
Krothe has been a public defender for 16 years and has represented indigent clients in felony, misdemeanor, juvenile and civil cases (CHINS). Krothe believes that her 19 years of courtroom experience will translate into making the courtroom less intimidating and more responsive for the victims of crime, the accused, participants, attorneys and staff involved in the cases coming before her."
Judith Benckart (R)*
From the Benckart campaign: "In 2018 I was appointed by Governor Eric Holcomb to complete retiring Judge Kenneth Todd’s term as Monroe County Judge. I currently serve the residents of Monroe County as the Judge of Circuit Court 8, Seat 5, the position I seek to retain in this election.
Now, as I’m seeking election to the post I was appointed to, not only do I offer my former work experience, but I also offer 2 years judicial experience on the very caseload of family law, small claims, and protective order matters I seek to continue to hear.
As a judge I have had the opportunity to assist with the formation of the Housing and Eviction Resource Table, which offers legal, mediation and community resource assistance to tenants and landlords alike who find themselves facing housing issues."
Judge of the Monroe Circuit Court, 10th Judicial Circuit, No. 6
Valeri Haughton (D)
We did not receive a statement from the Haughton campaign by the time of publication.
Judge of the Monroe Circuit Court, 10th Judicial Circuit, No. 9
Geoff Bradley (D)
As an attorney for over 25 years, I have developed and demonstrated the necessary commitment, integrity, diversity of experiences and versatility to serve as a Circuit Court Judge. I believe it is essential, for the welfare and safety of our community, to assess and develop the civil and criminal system to meet the needs of those in our county.
As part of my caseload, I handle all aspects of a case including working with victims and witnesses, assessing and identifying appropriate options to resolve cases, presenting arguments and evidence in court hearings, drafting motions and legal memoranda, and conducting other activities related to the prosecution of cases. I also manage, guide and supervise the prosecutor’s office internship program for undergraduate students and law students. Since 2012 I have served as a criminal law instructor at the Indiana University Police Academy.
In Indiana, I serve on the board of the Lotus Educational and Arts Foundation, and I am a member of various organizations such as the Arlington Heights Elementary PTO, the Monroe County Black Democratic Caucus, and Stone City Lodge #54. As a member of this diverse range of organizations I have worked to positively engage with and impact my community. It is also this deep sense of service, diversity of experiences and inclusion that I want to bring to the bench.
Alphonso (Al) Manns (D)
From the Manns campaign: "I am best qualified to serve as the judge for Division I, Seat 9 office. I have over thirty years of private practice of law in diverse areas, such as probate, personal injury, domestic matters, foreclosure, and in other civil depositions, as well as the criminal law as a defense attorney. I have practiced in the state and federal courts and represented clients on appeal. My years of experience serving clients have allowed me to demonstrate my honesty and integrity with a successful practice.
I love this community in which I raised my family, and I have the desire to serve the public to the best of my ability to achieve and design a justice system that is fair and just for all."
Carl Lamb (R)
We did not receive a statement from the Lamb campaign by the time of publication.
Monroe County Auditor
Catherine Smith* (D)
We did not receive a statement from the Smith campaign by the time of publication.
Monroe County Treasurer
Jessica McClellan* (D)
We did not receive a statement from the McClellan campaign by the time of publication.
Monroe County Coroner
Joani Shields* (D)
We did not receive a statement from the Shields campaign by the time of publication.
Monroe County Surveyor
Trohn Enright-Randolph* (D)
We did not receive a statement from the Enright-Randolph campaign by the time of publication.
Monroe County Commissioner
Julie Thomas (D - District 2)*
We did not receive a statement from the Thomas campaign by the time of publication.
Penny Githens (D - District 3)*
We did not receive a statement from the Githens campaign by the time of publication.
Monroe County Council At-Large
Karl R. Boehm
We did not receive a statement from the Boehm campaign by the time of publication.
From the Deckard campaign: "As a candidate for county council, I believe that elected officials can work together, that they can get good results for their constituents, and that they can make a positive impact on their community. I believe my experience in public service at the local, state, and federal levels add to my strong skill sets and love for Monroe County as a member of an eight-generation family. I am passionate about public service and people, willing to advocate for our most vulnerable communities and residents, and able to collaboratively work with whoever—whenever—for the betterment of all Monroe County. Now, as we face the adversity of a pandemic, we need leaders with exceptional ears, true heart for the community, and an eagerness to continue our growth on quality of place issues around access, affordability, and sustainability. I have developed these skills and abilities as a public servant at every level, a teacher, and as a candidate who has learned by listening to those I represent."
From the McKim campaign: "Our community and our county government are facing challenges right now that are literally unprecedented. I bring over a decade of experience on the Monroe County Council during good times and bad, a demonstrated record of fiscal leadership, and a long history of working hard for the residents of Monroe County. With hindsight, I believe we will know that it is our cooperation, creativity, and determination that led us through the crisis. We will come out stronger. I would be honored to be one of your three choices for County Council when you vote in this primary."
From the Munson campaign: "I love Monroe County – our beautiful setting and our diverse and vibrant community. I want to help guide our future to ensure that what we treasure will endure and what we can improve upon will get done.
If I am re-elected to the County Council, I will use my county-wide experience, compassion, and knowledge to focus on three goals: (1) attending to the county’s services and fiscal responsibilities, including our much needed, post-COVID economic recovery; (2) preserving the natural, cultural, and governmental resources that our residents and businesses value and depend upon; and (3) building resilience by expanding affordable housing and transportation connectivity, decreasing food insecurity, and improving our justice and mental health systems."
Dominic P. Thompson
We did not receive a statement from the Thompson campaign by the time of publication.
From the Allen campaign: "I have lived in Monroe County for over 40 years now. I am a retired firefighter and have served my community in that capacity for over 20 years, making almost 4000 calls for service in that timeframe. The main issues I see with this election are public safety, Monroe County roads and taxation without representation. I see and talk to many people each day who are upset with the condition of the roads and the fact that taxes have gotten so out of hand. And now we are having the City of Bloomington try to increase our local income tax and force yet another tax onto our rural residents and taxpayers.
Public safety, with my background of course, it’s going to be one of my top priorities -- and that is seeing to it that our law-enforcement and fire departments and emergency medical services have the tools and funds they need to provide public safety at its finest for all of Monroe County."
We did not receive a statement from the Weisheit campaign by the time of publication.
Payton Knobeloch contributed reporting to this post.