Outcome: John Hamilton won the Democratic Party primary for mayor with 4,065 votes (84.14 percent), compared to 766 votes (15.86 percent) for Amanda Barge. [Full results here]
John Hamilton is running for his second four-year term as mayor of the City of Bloomington. He initially faced Amanda Barge in the May 7, 2019 Democratic Party primary.
However, on March 26 Barge announced she was suspending her campaign, after the Indiana Daily Student published allegations of sexual harassment, which she denies. On April 9, she declared that even if she receives more votes than Hamilton, she will not accept the party’s nomination.
Barge’s name will still appear on the ballot, because the deadline for removing it was Feb. 11.
On his campaign website, Hamilton describes a platform that focuses on affordable housing, job creation and economic development, quality of life, democratic engagement and government transparency. His accomplishments mentioned on the site include development of the downtown Trades District, the 2019 National Award for Local Arts Leadership, solar energy initiatives, and “Mayor at the Market” program.
Hamilton’s tenure has also generated some controversy. He has been criticized for how he handled efforts to annex parts of Monroe County, the BearCat armored vehicle purchase, and the publishing of private addresses of drug overdose victims.
Hamilton first ran for mayor in 2011 but lost in the Democratic Party primary to incumbent Mark Kruzan. In 2015, Kruzan did not seek re-election and endorsed council president Darryl Neher in the Democratic primary. Hamilton prevailed with 58% of votes cast. He defeated Republican John Turnbull in the November general election.
A Bloomington native, Hamilton’s first experience as an elected official was on the Monroe County Community School Corp. board. He served one term from 2008 to 2012, representing District 6. His other community work includes chairing Bloomington’s Commission on Sustainability from 2005 to 2009, and serving as president of the Shalom Community Center board from 2013 to 2015.
From 2001 to 2003 he was secretary of the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration, appointed by Gov. Frank O’Bannon. Previously he had been appointed by O’Bannon as commissioner for the Indiana Dept. of Environmental Management, a position he held from 1997 to 1999.
In 1998, Hamilton founded City First Bank of D.C., a certified Community Development Financial Institution focused on financing for low-to-moderate-income communities.
Hamilton, the nephew of former U.S. Congressman Lee Hamilton, holds an undergraduate degree from Harvard University and a law degree from Indiana University. He is married to Dawn Johnsen, an Indiana University law professor. The couple has two sons, Matthew and Eric.
Former Bloomington mayor Tomi Allison is serving as Hamilton’s campaign manager. His campaign treasurer is Jen Pearl.
Links to Additional Information
Campaign finance reports (2019 election cycle):
- Statement of organization
- Declaration of candidacy
- Statement of economic interests
- Pre-Primary Report of Receipts and Expenditures
In the News: John Hamilton
Hamilton, Smith, uncontested Democrats look to fall election – Bloomington Herald-Times, May 7, 2019
Hamilton’s campaign funds bolstered by small group – Bloomington Herald-Times, May 5, 2019
City candidates discuss inclusivity, guns at North’s election forum – Bloomington Herald-Times, April 17, 2019
Ask The Mayor: Bloomington’s Hamilton On Lack Of Primary Opponent, Buttigieg – Indiana Public Media, April 17, 2019
Bloomington races not over, despite candidates’ actions; independent plans mayoral run – Bloomington Herald-Times, March 29, 2019
What Happens Next In The Bloomington Mayoral Primary Election – Indiana Public Media, March 27, 2019
Barge, Hamilton receive endorsements – Bloomington Herald-Times, March 25, 2019
Ask The Mayor: Bloomington’s Hamilton On Preservation, Annexation Lawsuit – Indiana Public Media, March 20, 2019
Barge, Hamilton talk housing at second debate – WFHB, March 19, 2019
Bloomington Mayoral Candidates Debate Development, Healthcare, Sustainability – Indiana Public Media, March 19, 2019
Mayoral candidates Barge, Hamilton offer contrasting views at forum – Bloomington Herald-Times, March 19, 2019
Hamilton and Barge clash on the definition, importance of progressivism – Indiana Daily Student, March 19, 2019
Mayoral candidate forum (video) – Community Access Television Services (CATS), March 18, 2019
Hamilton’s well-funded campaign dwarfs Barge’s – Bloomington Herald-Times, March 10, 2019
After three years in office, Hamilton is running again. Here’s what he’s done so far. – Indiana Daily Student, March 6, 2019
Bloomington mayoral candidates Hamilton, Barge visit IU campus, debate affordable housing – Indiana Daily Student, Feb. 26, 2019
Mayoral candidates discuss affordable housing – Bloomington Herald-Times, Feb. 26, 2019
Mayor condemns state government, discusses city’s accomplishments and challenges – Indiana Daily Student, Feb. 22, 2019
State of the City addresses power dynamics – Bloomington Herald-Times, Feb. 21, 2019
City’s Facebook page promoted mayor’s re-election yard signs – Bloomington Herald-Times, Feb. 21, 2019
Ask The Mayor: Bloomington’s Hamilton On New Hospital Traffic, State Of City – Indiana Public Media, Feb. 20, 2019
City to sign letter urging state legislators to pass hate crime legislation – Indiana Daily Student, Jan. 30, 2019
Food and commercial workers union endorses Hamilton – Bloomington Herald-Times, Jan. 24, 2019
Ask The Mayor: Bloomington’s Hamilton On Reelection, Parking – Indiana Public Media, Jan. 16, 2019
Bloomington Mayor John Hamilton announces 2019 re-election campaign – Indiana Daily Student, Dec. 5, 2018
Hamilton launches re-election campaign for mayor – Bloomington Herald-Times, Dec. 4, 2018
City council postpones decision on 4th Street, Trades District parking garages – Indiana Daily Student, Nov. 15, 2018