April 4, 2018 at 5:30 p.m.

Meek defeats Sims in Ward 2 Council race

By HSJ Online [email protected]

Nellie Meek has defeated long-time Hope Town Councilman Greg Sims in Tuesday's Democratic primary.

Tuesday's elections saw record turnout for a primary election in Bartholomew County both in total numbers and in the number of voters who chose to vote early. It was also the first countywide race to use the new vote center plan, doing away with traditional precinct polling places.

In the Ward 2 race, Meek won 97 votes to Sims' 42 votes, winning just over two thirds of the vote.

Meek and Sims came down on different sides on several issues including last year's dispute over the contract for the Hope Volunteer Fire Department and over the need for a town manager for Hope. Meek said she was upset by the long dispute between the Town Council and the town volunteer firefighters and she opposed hiring a town manager, while Sims was in favor of scrutinizing the contract and supported the town manager idea.

In other Hope Town Council races, Ed Johnson was the only candidate to seek the Ward 1 seat on the Town Council, drawing 119 votes in the Democratic primary, and Ohmer Miller was unopposed in his first bid for election, drawing 276 votes in the Ward 3 race as a Republican.

Miller was appointed last year to finish the term of Councilwoman Paula Pollitt, who died in June.

All three winning candidates are, as of yet, unopposed in the November general election. The political parties still have time to add candidates to fill open spots on the ballot.

The vote totals are preliminary numbers and have not yet been certified to the state.

In other races on Tuesday's Bartholomew County ballot:

  • No Republican or Democrat filed to run for the office of Hope clerk-treasurer. Diane Burton filed to run for re-election as an independent.

  • Schaefer Lake resident Susan Thayer-Fye, a Hope native, narrowly lost in her bid to upset long-time incumbent Larry Kleinhenz in the District 1 race for Bartholomew County Commissioner. Kleinhenz had 6,077 votes compared to Thayer-Fye's 5,899 with Councilman Jorge Morales taking 2,978 in the three-way race. There were no Democrats on the ballot for that race. District 3 County Commissioner Rick Flohr was unopposed in the Republican primary, as was his Democratic challenger in November, Brad Woodcock.

  • Kelly Benjamin is on track to be the next judge of Bartholomew Circuit Court, defeating Scott Andrews 8,180 to 6,903.

  • Jim Reed, a farmer, lost his bid to stay on the Bartholomew County Council in a five-way Republican race for the three seats on the board. Hope-area farmer and three-term incumbent Bill Lentz was the top vote-getter in that race, followed by newcomer Matt Miller and 36-year County Council member Evelyn Strietelmeier-Pence. Reed and Mike Lovelace finished fourth and fifth in the race. Miller is the owner of Raft to Rafters and is a former Bartholomew County sheriff's deputy. Lentz, Miller and Strietelmeier-Pence will face Democrats Pam Clark and Lynne Fleming in the fall election. Democrat Gaby Cheek also appeared on Tuesday's ballot, but said she plans to drop out before the fall election due to family and work commitments.

  • Columbus police officer Clayton Nolting won the Republican race for county coroner over funeral director Ron Shadley, 10,059 to 4,248. Nolting will face Democrat Paula Rothrock in the fall.

  • Long-time Bartholomew County Surveyor E.R. Gray was unopposed in his re-election bid Tuesday and has no challenger signed up for the fall election.

  • Republicans Mike Crull, Rex Dora and Steven Rucker will face Democrats Lisa L. Hayes, Mark Imel and Jeremy Kimball for seats on the Hartsville Town Council in the November election.

  • State Rep. Sean Eberhart was unopposed in his re-election bid as a Republican for Statehouse District 57, which includes northeastern Bartholomew County.

  • Congressman Luke Messer easily won the Republican race to seek re-election in the fall and will face long-time candidate Democrat Barry Welsh.

  • Congressman Todd Young defeated Congressman Marlin Stutzman in the Republican primary for the U.S. Senate. Young will face former Congressman and Seymour native Baron Hill, a Democrat, in the November race.

  • Bartholomew County followed the rest of Indiana in the presidential primaries, with Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Bernie Sanders both winning the state and the county.[[In-content Ad]]
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