Election Day in Hamilton, Johnson Counties Will Be Mostly a Sleepy One

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Election Day in Hamilton, Johnson Counties Will Be Mostly a Sleepy One

No Democrats, only one Libertarian challenging Republicans in mayors' races

(FISHERS, Ind.) - Election Day is a month away -- but you'll barely notice in some cities.

In Hamilton County, Democrats cut into traditional Republican landslides last year, and have been optimistic about continuing that progress in 2020. But the party didn't field a single candidate for mayor in any of the county's four cities, nor in 34 of the 46 city and town council races. The only contested mayor's race in the county will be in Westfield, where Republican incumbent Andy Cook faces Libertarian Donald Rainwater.

County Democratic Chairman Joe Weingarten says it's harder to recruit candidates for local races, and especially difficult for races against mayors with giant war chests. Mayors Jim Brainard in Carmel and Scott Fadness in Fishers are assured of reelectrion, while Chris Jensen is assured of becoming Noblesville's next mayor after winning a four-way primary to replace retiring Republican John Ditslear.

Weingarten says he expects Democrats to win some of the council races they're contesting in Carmel, Fishers and Noblesville. Those councils have been all-Republican for decades. Weingarten says picking up seats would both give Democrats a voice, and demonstrate to voters that their candidates can be competitive, ahead of a closely watched race for the congressional seat of retiring Republican Susan Brooks. Last year, the county supplied 70% of Brooks' winning margin.

Democrats are assured of picking up one town council seat in Atlanta, where Jody Price is unopposed. Atlanta, Sheridan and Arcadia have all canceled their elections because there are no contested races.

Republicans are resting easy not only in Hamilton County, but in Greenwood, Franklin, Lebanon and Rushville, all of which have unopposed incumbent mayors. In heavily Democratic Bloomington and Hammond, Mayors John Hamilton and Thomas McDermott Jr. are unopposed for reelection. And former Gary City Councilman Jerome Prince is assured of victory after knocking off Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson in the Democratic primary.

Fishers Mayor Scott Fadness (left) (Photo: Eric Berman/WIBC)
 

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