Democrat joining race for sheriff; filing period for candidates in May 8 primary election begins next week

The filing period for the May 8 primary election begins Wednesday, and it promises to be a busy day at the clerk’s office at the Jackson County Courthouse in Brownstown.

That’s because four candidates for the Republican sheriff’s race — Bill Abbott, Charlie Murphy and Rick Meyer, all of Seymour, and Phil Nale of Brownstown — announced their candidacies in the days leading up to the Jackson County Fair this past July.

All hope to replace Sheriff Mike Carothers, a Republican, who is wrapping up the second of two four-year terms. The state constitution limits sheriffs to two terms of four years, or eight years of service, in a 12-year period.

A Democrat — Jeff Walters of Seymour — also recently announced his candidacy for that party’s nominee to replace Carothers.

Walters said it has been a lifelong dream of his to be sheriff.

“I grew up with my dad being in law enforcement,” said Walters, who has been an officer with the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department since September 2006.

Walters, a Drug Abuse Resistance Education officer, said it has long been his desire to serve the people of Jackson County.

“… because that’s where my heart is,” he said.

He said drug abuse is the most serious issue law enforcement faces, and confronting it requires a lot of investigation and hard work.

“It’s destroying lives,” he said. “It’s destroying our youth, and they are our future.”

There’s always room for improvement, and everybody has their own ideas about addressing them, Walters said.

Besides a new sheriff, there also will be a new county clerk because that office is limited by the constitution to two four-year terms along with the coroner, recorder, auditor, treasurer and surveyor.

Voters elected an auditor, coroner, treasurer and surveyor in 2016, so those offices won’t be on the ballot this year. Recorder, however, will be on the ballot.

Clerk Amanda Lowery, a Republican from Vallonia, said Wednesday afternoon she isn’t quite finished with public service.

“I am running for recorder,” she said.

Present county recorder Linda Jo Auleman, who is wrapping up her second term, could not be reached for comment about her plans.

Other races on the primary ballot include the District 3 county commissioner’s seat, presently held by Republican Matt Reedy of Freetown, and the four district county council seats, all held by Republicans — Leon Pottschmidt of Seymour (District 1), Brian Thompson of Cortland (District 2), Michael Davidson of Seymour (District 3) and Bridey Jacobi (District 4). Those offices are not limited to two four-year terms.

Reedy said Thursday he plans to pursue a third four-year term as commissioner.

“I think we have a lot of good things going,” he said.

Republican Roger Bane of Medora, who plans to challenge Reedy in the primary, said as a longtime school superintendent at Medora and Brownstown, he has the skillset to be a commissioner.

“I’m used to working with policies, and I’ve dealt with budgets the last 13 years of my career,” he said. “I have a vested interest in the county.”

Everyone in the county may vote for commissioners, but council members are elected by the voters of their districts.

Assessor Katie Kaufman, a Seymour Republican, is wrapping up her first four-year term and facing re-election along with Jackson Circuit Court Judge Richard W. Poynter, a Seymour Republican, and Jackson County Prosecutor AmyMarie Travis, a Brownstown Republican.

Voters also will elect 13 townships trustees and 13 three-member township boards, while Democrats will pick precinct committeemen/committeewomen. Voters from both parties will elect delegates to state conventions.

Voters in the Seymour Community School Corp. district also will elect trustees for the Redding and Washington township seats and the two Seymour city districts.

The two Seymour city seats are held by Nancy Franke and Stu Silver, while Max Klosterman holds the Washington Township seat, and the Seymour-Redding Township seat is held by John Kelley.

Voters in Vernon Township will select trustees for the Crothersville Community School Corp. District 2, District 3 and District 5 board seats. Linda Luedeman presently serves District 2, Ralph Hillenburg represents District 3 and Robert E. Spicer serves District 5.

Voters in Carr Township will vote for two at-large trustees to serve on the Medora Community School Corp. board of trustees. Those seats are held by Larry Osborn and Darrell Persinger.

School board elections are now conducted during the general election, which is set for Nov. 6.

Lowery said she expects a good turnout Wednesday because of the number of offices on the primary ballot.