Chesterton Tribune



Apply now with party chairs to fill town ballot vacancies

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Most of the candidates in Duneland’s 2019 local elections are currently unopposed--but they may not be safe for long.

Per Indiana Code, Michael Simpson and Jeffrey Chidester, Porter County’s respective Republican and Democrat party chairs, have until June 30 to directly appoint candidates to fill ballot vacancies in local races.

Libertarian ballot vacancies are filled by town conventions hosted by the state Libertarian committee, and have the same deadline, according to the 2019 Indiana Candidate Guide.

Simpson told the Chesterton Tribune he’s looking for Republican candidates to fill vacancies in Duneland town council races. Two Democrats are running unopposed for Chesterton Town Council and could face a challenger appointed by Simpson--former council member Sharon Darnell, who’s filed to reclaim the fourth ward Council seat, and newcomer vying for the third ward seat, Robert Allison.

“We’ve been searching for candidates since filing ended,” Simpson said. “Now, we’re going through the lists we’ve developed.”

Simpson said any Porter County Republicans interested in being appointed to fill a ballot vacancy should email him at by June 10.

Simpson will speak to interested people in person to be sure they understand the ins and outs of a campaign. “We’re always looking for people to be engaged and involved,” Simpson said.

Simpson’s also looking for challengers for all but one of Porter’s Town Council seats. Currently no one is opposed, and incumbent Brian Finley (R-5th) is the lone Republican on the Council.

Chidester did not respond to a request for comment, but he has previously told the Chesterton Tribune that citizens interested in filling ballot vacancies should call him at (219)712-8081.

Chidester may be looking for Democrats to pit against Finley and against Jim Ton (R-1st), Emerson Delaney, (R-5th), and Lloyd Kittredge (R-2nd) on the Chesterton Town Council.

Residents in Beverly Shores and Dune Acres can also still get involved. As of the Feb. 8 filing deadline for major party candidates, only four candidates, all Democrats, had filed to compete for five at-large seats on the Beverly Shores Town Council. Candidates for Town Council and Clerk-treasurer in Dune Acres run as Independents, and are not required to file for candidacy until July.

Clerk-treasurers Carol Pomeroy (R) in Porter, Jane Jordan (D) in Burns Harbor, and Ellen Hundt (D) in Beverly Shores are also running unopposed.

The playing field is fairly even in Burns Harbor, with three Republican and three Democrat candidates--four incumbents and two challengers--vying for five at-large Town Council seats.

To be eligible to fill a ballot vacancy, citizens must meet the requirements to run for office in the State of Indiana and all requirements specific to the office sought. A resident of Chesterton or Porter wishing to fill a ballot vacancy for Town Council must live in the respective voting ward he or she is seeking to represent. Beverly Shores and Burns Harbor do not have voting wards, so candidates may live in any part of Town. Candidates for clerk-treasuer may also live in any part of Town.

Candidates must be registered to vote in the district they seek to represent and must have lived in the district at a primary residence for at least one year prior to the general election.

A candidate for office may be an employee of the same government unit he or she is running to represent, but must resign if elected. Candidates may be employed by one local government unit and be an elected officeholder in another.

Citizens who have been convicted of a felony or pleaded guilty or no contest to a felony charge (or a felony charge that was later reduced to a Class A Misdemeanor) may not run for local office, per Indiana Code.

General information on running for office can be found in the 2019 Indiana Candidate Guide. The Guide, and all candidate filing forms, can be found at


Posted 5/28/2019





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