2023 Bloomington city council elections: Guenther forms committee for independent at-large run

Early Thursday morning, Andrew Guenther filed the paperwork required to create an exploratory committee for a Bloomington city council run in 2023.

Photo included with Guenther’s news release.

Guenther will be starting law school at Indiana University this fall. He holds an undergraduate degree from IU in public affairs, and is currently working on a masters degree.

Guenther is former chair of Bloomington’s environmental commission. He has also served on Monroe County’s environmental commission and Bloomington’s board of housing quality appeals.

In 2019 Guenther ran for the District 2 city council seat as a Republican, but lost in the general election to Democrat Sue Sgambelluri.

Compared to 2019, two things are different about a potential run next year. First, Guenther is considering a run as an independent candidate, unaffiliated with any political party. Guenther announced on Jan. 2, 2021 that he was no longer a member of the Republican Party.

A second difference is that Guenther would be a candidate for an at-large seat on the council.

The three at-large seats are elected citywide, which means candidate eligibility is based just on city residency. That removes from the equation any uncertainty related to the outcome of this year’s redistricting process—which will likely see some changes to the boundaries of the six council districts.

The current at-large councilmembers are: Susan Sandberg, Jim Sims, and Matt Flaherty. Continue reading “2023 Bloomington city council elections: Guenther forms committee for independent at-large run”

Bloomington still has no redistricting commission, 15 months after it was supposed to be seated

Bloomington’s city council passed an ordinance in mid-December 2020 to establish a redistricting advisory commission that is supposed to make recommendations on the drawing of new city council districts, based on results of the 2020 census.

map ofBloomington showing the different city council districts in different colors with their respective populations after the 2020 census. The low is 10,783. The high is 15,379.

The nine-member group was supposed to be seated at the start of 2021, which is the year following the decennial census.

Now some 15 months later, no members of the commission have been seated—because there are not enough applicants who meet the eligibility requirements.

Under state law, it is this year—the second year following the decennial census—when the city council districts are supposed to be redrawn. That’s only if their populations have become unbalanced based on the census numbers.

But there’s no question that Bloomington’s current city council districts are unbalanced after the 2022 census count, because they have a 35 percent variance. An acceptable variance is considered 10 percent.

Even though nine months of the year remain, the timeline for the redistricting commission’s work is already getting tight.

And after amending the 2020 ordinance in early February of this year, to reduce the redistricting commission to five members, the planned commission is still short of eligible applicants.

On Thursday at noon, the city council committee that is responsible for selecting the redistricting commission members met in the McCloskey Room at city hall to review how to proceed. Making up the committee, under Bloomington’s new ordinance, are the three at-large members, who are elected by voters citywide: Susan Sandberg, Jim Sims and Matt Flaherty.

Continue reading “Bloomington still has no redistricting commission, 15 months after it was supposed to be seated”