A look ahead at some Monroe County offices up for election in 2022

In 2021, voters enjoyed their regular respite from local political races, which comes in the year following a presidential election.

In 2022, voters will be choosing several positions in Monroe County government.

The positions include four different seats on the county council, three circuit judges, one county commissioner, as well as assessor, clerk, prosecuting attorney, recorder and sheriff.

Monroe County went decisively for Democrat Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential race. Biden received about 63 percent of votes compared to 35 percent for Donald Trump.

All county positions except the four county council seats are elected countywide, which means Democrats have a significant advantage in the fall general elections.

That doesn’t mean there won’t be any choices for voters in November.

Incumbent sheriff, Democrat Brad Swain, is term limited by the Indiana Constitution—he was first elected in 2014.  So Swain can’t run for re-election in 2022.

Republican Nathan Williamson  has filed some preliminary paperwork to run for sheriff, as has Democrat Ruben Marté.

They’ll need to follow their statements of their exploratory committees with a declaration of candidacy. The earliest date when a candidate for any race can file a declaration is Jan. 5.

Marté is a captain with the Indiana State Police. Williamson is a sergeant with the Monroe County sheriff’s office.

This animation cycles through plots of just Biden votes, just Trump votes, and votes for either candidate. The new county council districts, and the city boundary of Bloomington are overlaid on the map.

Another Republican who plans to be on the ballot in November 2022 is District 1 District 3 county councilor Marty Hawk.

She told The B Square she’ll run for re-election to the county council because that’s where her heart has been for such a long time.

The tweaks to the county council districts adopted by county commissioners changed the boundaries for District 3 to balance out the population.

But the changes did not affect the political balance much, based on the voting pattern in the 2020 presidential election.

The boundary change made District 3 just a smidgen more Republican, boosting the percentage from 54.92 to 55.06 percent, based on votes cast in the 2020 presidential election.

2020 Presidential Race Results: Old vs New County Council Districts

Old Districts TRUMP 2020 BIDEN 2020
District 01 35.88% 64.12%
District 02 25.16% 74.84%
District 03 54.92% 45.08%
District 04 25.97% 74.03%
New Districts TRUMP 2020 BIDEN 2020
District 01 35.78% 64.22%
District 02 25.16% 74.84%
District 03 55.06% 44.94%
District 04 25.97% 74.03%

The other three county council districts voted decisively for Democrat Joe Biden in 2020. The incumbent for District 1 is Democrat Peter Iversen, who has filed initial paperwork for re-election. The incumbent for District 2 is Democrat Kate Wiltz.

The county council District 4 seat is currently vacant, after the resignation of Eric Spoonmore.

The rest of Spoonmore’s term representing District 4 on the county council will be served by the pick of the Democratic Party caucus, which is set for Sunday, Dec. 19 at 2 p.m. in the Monroe County Public Library.

Democratic Party chair Jennifer Crossley has declared her candidacy at the caucus for the District 4 seat. Two other candidates who had been mulling caucus runs for the District 4 seat—Dominic Thompson and Ilana Stonebraker—have since indicated to The B Square that they will not be contesting the race.

Caucus candidates have to file paperwork with the county, which gets posted on the county website.

The caucus pick for District 4 would need to win election in 2022 to continue their service on the county council.

The three at-large seats on the county council—Cheryl Munson, Trent Deckard, and Geoff McKim, were chosen in 2020 to serve four-year terms. They’re all Democrats.

The three county commissioners, even though they have residency requirements defined by three different districts, are elected by voters across the county to four-year terms. They are all Democrats.

Julie Thomas and Penny Githens were re-elected in 2020 to their posts as commissioners. The incumbent for the remaining seat, which is up for election in 2022, is Democrat Lee Jones.

Another incumbent who is term limited is county recorder, Democrat Eric Schmitz. He was first elected in 2014, when he won a narrow victory over Republican Jeff Ellington.

At the Oct. 31 event when county commissioner Penny Githens announced her candidacy for the District 62 state house seat, Schmitz wore a button indicating support for Ashley Cranor as recorder. Cranor is currently chief deputy recorder, and has already filed a statement of organization for an exploratory committee.

According to Herald-Times reporting from 2016,  Cranor was one of the candidates at a Democratic Party caucus that year to replace Linda Robbins as county clerk, who resigned before her term concluded.

The 2016 caucus picked deputy clerk Nicole Browne to fill Robbins’s spot. In 2018, Browne won election to the clerk’s position. Browne has said she’s planning to run for re-election in 2018 2022.

Browne is not term-limited, even though by the end of a second four-year term in 2026, she would have served more than the eight-year limit described in the Indiana Constitution. That’s because the constitutional limit is spelled out as not applying to the years of pro tempore service that come from being appointed by a caucus.

From the Indiana Constitution:

Article 6 Section 2
(c) No person shall be eligible to the office of Clerk, Auditor, Recorder, Treasurer, Sheriff, or Coroner more than eight years in any period of twelve years.

Article 2 Section 11
In all cases in which it is provided, that an office shall not be filled by the same person more than a certain number of years continuously, an appointment pro tempore shall not be reckoned a part of that term.

One candidate for circuit court judge has filed some initial paperwork—Democrat April Wilson. Wilson has filed for the Seat 7, Division 7 seat on the bench, where judge Stephen Galvin, a Democrat, now sits. Galvin is not expected to seek re-election.

The campaigns for county offices won’t start to come into clear focus until Jan. 5, when official declarations can be filed with the county’s election division.

After that, the first deadline comes up quickly. It’s noon (not the end of the day) on Feb. 4, 2022, when candidates for the nomination of a major political party have to file their declarations.

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