By BRIAN A. HOWEY
– Incumbent mayors in Columbus, East Chicago, Lake Station, Logansport
and Westfield appear to be facing high hurdles for renomination in next
Tuesday’s municipal primaries, while Howey Politics Indiana monitors
close races in Elkhart, Carmel and Bloomington. Some of these races
could be determined by low voter turnout and a candidate’s ability to
get out their base. Races in some of Indiana’s biggest cities,
Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, Evansville and Terre Haute, are already set
for the fall with incumbents and leading opposition candidates expected
to breeze toward nominations.
Most vulnerable incumbents
Columbus: First term Republican Mayor Kristen Brown is
one of the most vulnerable incumbents, seeking to fend off a challenge
from Columbus Council President Jim Lienhoop. Brown has often clashed
with “establishment” Republicans on the council. Brown’s leadership
style has been described by local sources as off-putting, something
Lienhoop has stressed on the campaign trail. Because no Democrats are
opposed, there is potential for a significant crossover and vote for
Lienhoop. Primary Horse Race Status: Leans Lienhoop.
East Chicago: First-term Mayor Anthony Copeland faces unique
opposition, writes NWI Times’ Publisher William Nangle. Besides
opposition by city clerk-treasurer Mary Morris Leonard, it’s being said
two men who were a part of East Chicago’s colorful past political
conflicts are seeking to influence the outcome. Former mayor George
Pabey, who has spent time in jail for misdeeds while in office, and
longtime political operative Bobby Cantrell are reportedly working for
Copeland’s ouster. Copeland came into office as mayor and put the city
on a sound financial basis. He reduced the patronage army left by Pabey,
has worked tirelessly for restoration of the Cline Avenue bridge and
has witnessed work to improve the city’s shoreline along Lake Michigan.
Primary Horse Race Status: Tossup.