Democratic race for auditor, other Monroe County offices crowded

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A crowded Democratic primary race for auditor, which features the current county treasurer and the current chief deputy auditor, is just a sample of what voters can expect on ballots come May.

This year’s county elections have the potential to put several fresh faces in elected office, with many incumbents not running again for differing reasons.

As the deadline for candidates with major political parties to file passed on Friday, the Democratic primaries for county auditor and Monroe County Circuit Court Division I had the most candidates, with four each. Both incumbents, county Auditor Steve Saulter and Judge E. Michael Hoff, are not seeking re-election.

The Democratic race for county auditor features Chief Deputy Auditor Therese Chambers, Kevin Easton, Terri Porter and county Treasurer Cathy Smith. Due to term limits, Smith cannot seek re-election to her present office. There is no Republican candidate at this time running for auditor.

In the Circuit Judge Court I race, seeking the endorsement of Democrats are Monroe County deputy prosecutor for sex crimes Darcie L. Fawcett, county council attorney R. Michael Flory and local attorneys Holly M. Harvey and Alphonso (Al) Manns.

The county commissioner District 3 race is the only one that will have a primary for each party. County Commissioner Iris Kiesling decided not to run for re-election after decades of service in the position. Seeking the Democratic nomination are former county councilman Rick Dietz, former Ivy Tech Chancellor John Whikehart and Amanda Barge. On the Republican side are Paul White Sr. and Hal Turner, who works as the district office manager for U.S. Rep. Todd Young, the current 9th District congressman.

Other primary races will be for coroner and treasurer. Incumbent Coroner Nicole Meyer will not seek re-election this year. Running on the Democratic ticket are Chief Deputy Coroner Joani Shields and Aaron Mobley. The winner will run against Republican candidate Eric S. Powell in November.

With Smith not running for treasurer, Chief Deputy Hans Huffman and Jessica McClellan are hoping to win the Democratic nomination for the office. For the Republicans, Ann Collins has filed for office.

As far as Democrat incumbents running for re-election, County Commissioner Julie Thomas is seeking the Democratic nod again in District 2; Kevin Enright is pursuing re-election as surveyor; Geoff McKim, Cheryl Munson and Lee Jones are seeking to stay on the county council as at-large representatives; and Judges Stephen Galvin and Mary Ellen Diekhoff will run for re-election to their respective Circuit Court seats.

On the Republican ballot will be Nelson Shaffer for commissioner and Russell J. Stanger for surveyor. There are no Republican candidates for any of the council or judge positions.

Monroe County Democratic Party Chairman Mark Fraley said the number of candidates who turned out for different offices shows an eagerness to run.

“I think that this is going to be a very exciting primary season,” Fraley said.

While there are ballot spots that do not have a Republican candidate, Monroe County Republican Party Chairman William Ellis said he is pleased with the quality of candidates who elected to run. However, it will not be the last time the Republicans can place a candidate on the ballot for the November general election. The party has until noon June 30 to fill a vacancy on the general election ballot for an office that does not have a primary candidate. In addition, candidates still have until noon Monday to withdraw.