MERRILLVILLE  – You can say one thing about Lake County Democratic elected officials – retirement is never final. For instance, Lake Circuit Court Judge Lorenzo Arredondo, 77, stepped down from the bench 10 years ago only to run an unsuccessful campaign for attorney general two years ago.
But he’s back and is unopposed to become clerk of the Lake Circuit Court.

One can say much the same about Frances DuPey, 79, who retired a few years back as a county commissioner. She is back on the ballot running for St. John Township Board, which is controlled by Republicans, as a Democrat. She was a resident of North Township when serving as commissioner.

And speaking of longevity, U.S. Rep. Peter Visclosky is a lock to win a 13th term in the House of Representatives. He would become the longest serving congressman in the state of Indiana, surpassing Lee Hamilton and Ray J. Madden. Visclosky also sits near the top of the Appropriations Committee when it comes to seniority.

In terms of statewide races, there is a stronger Northwest Indiana presence.

Former East Chicago resident John Aguilera, a Democrat, who served on the Lake County Council and was a state representative, is running for state treasurer against incumbent Republican Kelly Mitchell, a Valparaiso University graduate.

Valparaiso attorney Jim Harper, a Democrat, is challenging Republican Secretary of State Connie Lawson.

Locally, Democrat Lisa Beck is challenging Republican Rep. Julie Olthoff in the 19th District that previously was represented by Shelli VanDenburgh. The district in mid-Lake County is one of the most notable swing districts in the state.

For the first time ever, Democrats are enthused about having a chance in the Lake County Council 7th District race.

Republican Eldon Strong, the incumbent, was ousted in the primary by two votes by Christian Jorgensen.

Democrats feel they have a chance with Phillip Kuiper, a former Lowell town councilman.

In Porter County, the current and former county prosecutors are facing off. Incumbent Republican Brian Gensel is seeking a fourth term and is challenged by Democrat Gary Germann, who served as prosecutor for one term when he was elected in 1978.

Perhaps the most interesting race in LaPorte County is for county commissioner. Former Michigan City Mayor Shelia Brillson, a Democrat, is hoping to get back in elected office and is challenging incumbent Republican Connie Gramarossa, who was named to fill a commissioner vacancy in the spring.  

Rich James has been writing about politics and government for almost 40 years. He is retired from the Post-Tribune, a newspaper born in Gary.