Today was the last day for candidates to file for the 2019 Fort Wayne Municipal Elections — noon was the deadline.
For those who may not have voted before in a Primary, when you go to vote, you’ll be asked to chose a party – either Democrat or Republican – which you will select your candidate choices from. The Primary essentially nominates the candidates who will run in the November General Election. So, for the next three months candidates will be running against other party members, giving the electorate the opportunity to vet each candidate.
Fort Wayne Mayor
In the Mayor’s race, John Crawford and Tim Smith, who declared last year, have been joined by Matthew McLaughlin and David Roach. Crawford, currently one of the Fort Wayne City At-Large Councilmen, is the only candidate to have held public office serving five terms. Roach has run for various offices several times over the years including Allen County Sheriff — but as a Republican.
On the other side, incumbent Mayor Tom Henry is joined by Gina Burgess and Tommy Schrader. Both candidates have run for several offices over the years. Most notably, Schrader has run for the 3rd District Congressional nomination, garnering 36.79% of the vote against two other candidates. In the General Election, he took second place to Congressman Jim Banks with 27.8% of the vote versus 64.85 for Banks, but he did best a Libertarian and write-in candidate.
Burgess, joined by her husband Dave, last ran for the Allen County Circuit Court Clerk’s nomination in the 2018 Primary. She garnered 34.31% of the vote in that election, bested by Danielle Anderson with 44.50%, an election in which four candidates vied for the nomination.
Mayor Henry was first elected to the office in 2008 and has served three terms. If elected, he will hold the record for the most terms served by a Fort Wayne Mayor.
Fort Wayne City Clerk
Republican Incumbent Lana Keesling is unopposed with the same on the other side of the ballot with Democrat Katie Zuber, the lone candidate. Zuber’s mother is Wayne Township Assessor Bev Zuber. Zuber is a first-time candidate. Keesling has one term under her belt.
Fort Wayne City Council At-Large
On the Republican ballot for the Fort Wayne City Council’s At-Large seats, Incumbents Michael Barranda and Thomas Freistroffer will face off with Nathan Hartman, Eric Tippmann, and Joe Townsend. Hartman and Townsend are first-time candidates. Barranda and Freistroffer both have each served one term. Tippmann was elected as Perry Township Trustee in the 2018 election. He then resigned his position as one of the Allen County Council At-Large to take the Trustee office after serving half his term.
At-Large Democrat candidates include MaryClare Akers and Curtis Nash who are joined by veteran candidates. Nash last ran unsuccessfully for the Indiana State Representative District 84 seat against Bob Morris in 2018. Michelle Chambers ran unsuccessfully for the Fort Wayne City Council At-Large nomination in the 2015 election, finishing 1st in the race with 23.89% of the vote. She went on to the General Election finishing 4th with 15.45% versus 17 to 18% for the top three. However, Fort Wayne City Clerk-Elect Angie Davis resigned her position as Fort Wayne City Deputy Clerk which she was holding until a caucus could be held to fill the vacancy created by Clerk Sandy Kennedy who had resigned. In a caucus held November 8, 2015, she was elected to finish the City Clerk’s term. She took over the office from interim City Clerk Republican Don Schmidt, former 2nd District City Councilman, which had been a surprise appointment from Democratic Mayor Henry.
Fort Wayne Community School Board member Steve Corona (5th District) is also running. Current Fort Wayne City Councilman Glynn A. Hines also joins the race. Last year, Hines had announced that he wouldn’t be seeking re-election this year due to health issues. However, he received a kidney transplant at the end of the year and had remarked that he has since felt reinvigorated and had perhaps made his decision too early. Chambers, Corona, and Hines are strong, candidates with high name recognition in the community. But, this shouldn’t stop voters from vetting Akers and Nash as fresh voices who may have much to bring to the table.
Fort Wayne City Council 1st District
One-term Incumbent Councilman Paul Ensley is unopposed in the Republican race. Democrat Darryl Esterline had filed on January 22, 2019, but withdrew on February 1, 2019 leaving no candidate on the ballot. A party may caucus after the Primary to select a candidate for the race, with the deadline for June 30, 2019. Ensley defeated the multi-term Councilman Tom Smith four years ago in the Primary and went on to victory in the General.
Fort Wayne City Council 2nd District
Incumbent Councilman Russ Jehl is also unopposed in the Republican race with no Democrat candidate. Jehl has served two terms taking over from Republican Don Schmidt who had retired.
Fort Wayne City Council 3rd District
Republican Incumbent Councilman Tom Didier will face Mike Thomas. On the other side of the election, Palermo “Pal” Galindo faces John Henry.
Fort Wayne City Council 4th District
Republican Incumbent Councilman Jason Arp will face challenger Rachel Lott who is a first-time candidate. The Democratic ticket will see Jorge Fernandez face off against Patti Hays. Fernandez last ran for the 2018 Indiana State Representative District 50 seat. He was unsuccessful in his bid, defeated by Dan Leonard who garnered 56.65% versus 43.35% for Fernandez.
Fort Wayne City Council 5th District
Democrat Incumbent Geoff Paddock who has represented the district for two terms starting in 2012 is unopposed. Republican newcomer Taylor Vanover is also unopposed.
Fort Wayne City Council 6th District
The 6th District, which has had Glynn Hines representation since 1999, has attracted three candidates. Tom Cook, first-time candidate Hakim Muhammad, and Sharon Tucker.
Cook last ran for Mayor back in 2007 finishing second place out of three with 13.47% of the vote. Tom Henry won that Primary going on to defeat Republican Matt Kelty, giving him a first term which turned into three with a possible fourth in the works.
Hakim Muhammad is an unknown candidate.
Tucker, who is currently representing the Allen County Council’s 1st District, decided to run for the office after Hines announced he wouldn’t be seeking re-election. Hines has endorsed Tucker saying she would continue the legacy that goes back by earlier African-American council members going back to John Nuckols, Charles Redd, Cletus Edmonds, and Archie Lunsey.
No republicans stepped up in what is a democrat stronghold.