2020 Local Primaries: Democrats now have confirmed contested races for state senator, judge, county councilors

This past week’s candidate filings for offices of local interest brought the total of confirmed contested races in the Democratic Party’s primary elections to three.

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Declaring her candidacy on Friday for the state senate’s District 40 seat was former Monroe County councilor Shelli Yoder. She joins the Democratic Party’s state chair, John Zody, in a bid for the party’s nomination to succeed incumbent Democrat Mark Stoops. Last year, Stoops announced he would not be seeking re-election.

On Wednesday, Kara Elaine Krothe, an attorney in the county’s public defender’s office, declared her candidacy for the Democratic Party’s nomination to the Division 8 judge’s seat in Monroe County’s circuit court. Also running for that nomination is deputy county prosecutor Jeff Kehr, who declared his candidacy on Jan. 8, the first day candidates could file.

The winner of the primary contest between Krothe, Kehr—and any other candidate who files by the noon Feb. 7 deadline—will face the winner of the Republican Party’s primary race. Incumbent Republican Judith Benckart is the one Republican to have filed so far for the Monroe County’s circuit court Division 8 judge’s seat.

The other confirmed contested race for local Democrats is for the three at-large county council seats. Incumbent Democrats Trent Deckard, Geoff McKim, and Cheryl Munson have all filed their declarations. Dominic Thompson, who is an administrative support staffer with Monroe County’s probation department, has also filed his declaration.

A fourth possible contested race in the Democratic Party’s primary could be for the District 61 seat in the state house. Incumbent Matt Pierce has filed his declaration. Daniel Olsson dropped by the first organizational meeting of the Monroe County Greens last fall to ask about Green Party endorsement policies for non-Green Party candidates—because he’s seeking the Democratic Party’s nomination for Pierce’s seat. Olsson hasn’t yet filed the paperwork.

The past week also saw one of the remaining gaps filled for incumbent filings. Monroe County commissioner Julie Thomas, who represents District 2, filed her declaration. That leaves just three spots in open seats for Monroe County government with no candidate filings yet: auditor, treasurer and corner. Incumbents for those positions are Democrats Cathy Smith, Jessica McClellan, and Joani Shields, respectively.

The Square Beacon updates new announcements or filings for local candidates on a separate page: 2020 Monroe County Indiana Primaries.  Readers who’d like to receive a daily email around 4 p.m. with an attached spreadsheet of the day’s candidate filings can sign up for the  list at the Election Central building at 7th and Madison streets. An additional resource for candidate filings is Indiana’s Secretary of State’s listing for all candidates statewide.