Election 2018: Locals file for county offices

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BROWNSTOWN

The Jackson County Clerk’s Office was full Wednesday as candidates filed for a number of offices for the 2018 elections.

“This is the most I’ve seen on the opening day of filing for office,” Jackson County Clerk Amanda Lowery said of the 13 candidates who filed early Wednesday. By Thursday morning, 22 candidates had filed for local office.

That number was higher than usual, Lowery said, because five filings were for Jackson County sheriff with four candidates filing on the Republican ticket. Jeff Walters, an officer with the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department, was the lone Democratic candidate who filed. The Republicans filing are Bill Abbott, Rick Meyer, Charlie Murphy and Phil Nale.

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All five 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.

The moment signified a formal start to the Republican primary, as the four announced their candidacies in the days leading up to the 2017 Jackson County Fair in July.

“Now, the campaign really kicks into gear,” Abbott, Seymour’s police chief, said after submitting his filing.

While the race for sheriff drew the most filings, it is not the only office up for grabs.

Voters also will select a county clerk, recorder and assessor, district county council seats, District 3 county commissioner, Jackson Circuit Court judge and prosecutor. The ballot also will feature 13 township trustees and Seymour Community School Corp. and Crothersville Community School Corp. trustee seats.

Cliff Sommers, a Democrat, filed for Jackson County recorder, which is held by Republican Linda Auleman. Auleman also is constitutionally limited to two four-year terms and filed to run for Jackson Township trustee.

Sommers said he has experience in the office because he has worked there since 2013.

“I really like my job, and I’m pretty good at it, so I decided to run,” he said.

Sommers said he will focus on voter registration as part of his campaign.

“I know a lot of people that might vote but never have,” he said.

Sommers said getting more people to vote will have an impact on their involvement.

“More votes means more voices,” he said.

Nale, a retired conservation officer, said the campaign will be an opportunity to meet more people to discuss the issues and spread his message of including the community in the sheriff’s department’s work.

“I look forward to getting out there and talking with people to get my message out there,” he said. “I want to be community-oriented.”

Murphy, the county’s jail commander, said he wanted to “continue on the things Sheriff Carothers has started” along with some new ideas he has for the office.

He said he believes he has the experience necessary to run the office.

“I feel I’m the most qualified candidate and know the most about how the sheriff’s department operates,” he said following his filing.

This isn’t Murphy’s first campaign, as he spent time on the Jackson County Council. He said his committee is ready to begin talking with voters.

“I’m ready to get on the ground, knock on doors and talk with people,” he said. “I love hearing from the public, and I encourage people to call me and ask questions so I know what the people want.”

Abbott said he also plans to knock on doors and meet the voters. He said he plans to use social media as another way to reach voters.

Meyer, an officer with the sheriff’s department, said the people of Jackson County are genuinely interested in the race and issues.

“Jackson County is fortunate to have so many people take an interest in the direction their community goes,” he said. “I want to hear people‚Äôs concerns and make sure they are heard.”

Filing will close at noon Feb. 9 for the primary elections.

Filing for office includes forming an organized committee to oversee campaign finances and completing an economic interest form for the state and a declaration of candidacy.

Candidates running for an office that compensates them more than $5,000 per year are required to complete campaign finance reports at various times throughout the election cycle. The first deadline will be before the May 8 primary.

“They need to turn in a report that shows how much they’ve raised and how much they’ve spent in that time period,” said Melissa Hayes, first deputy of the clerk’s office.

Many candidates don’t realize that obligation or are unfamiliar with the requirements when they file for office, so Lowery developed an information packet to help candidate understand the filings.

Lowery said she has always looked forward to the candidate filings since she began working as the clerk in 2011.

“It’s just exciting for me,” she said, adding the day feels similar to a holiday.

Showing up on the first day signifies the commitment candidates have for the office they’re seeking, Lowery said.

“It shows that you’re excited about the job and you’re ready to get to work and do good things for Jackson County,” she said.

Lowery herself was a candidate who filed. Barred by constitutional term limits, she filed for Jackson County recorder.

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Candidates filing for offices in Jackson County for the May 8 primary election (as of 9:30 a.m. Friday).

County clerk

Republican

Melissa Elkins Hayes

County assessor

Republican

Katie Kaufman

County commissioner, District 3

Republican

Roger L. Bane

Matt Reedy

County council, District 3

Republican

Brian H. Thompson

County recorder

Democrat

Clifford L. Sommers

Republican

Amanda Cunningham Lowery

County sheriff

Democrat

Jeffrey Walters

Republican

William V. “Bill” Abbott

Rick Meyer

Charlie Murphy

Phil Nale

Prosecuting attorney

Republican

AmyMarie Travis

Township trustee

Jackson Township

Republican

Linda Auleman

William “Bill” Marsh

Brownstown Township

Republican

Jennifer Saucerman Isaacs

Redding Township

Democrat

Conrad E. Calmer

Vernon Township

Democrat

E. Scott Kovener

Township board member

Owen Township

Republican

Jack E. Gilbert

Pershing Township

Republican

Doyle Lyon

Joe McDermid

Redding Township

Democrat

David “Dave” Merry

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Deadline to file: Noon Feb. 9 at the Jackson County Clerk’s Office

Address: Jackson County Courthouse, 111 S. Main St., Brownstown

Phone: 812-358-6116

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