Typically, primary elections in off years don’t draw much interest. While it would be nice to think that voters will change that trend, the smart money says otherwise.
However, there are two interesting races that might bring out some numbers, the mayoral and city council.
Let’s begin with the mayoral. Relative unknown John Pickett has challenged incumbent Todd Barton for the mayor’s seat. Barton is in his first term after narrowly defeating then-mayor Charlie Coons by 91 votes, 1,605 to 1,514. Since taking office, the city has cleaned up the Accelplus multi-million dollar debacle, has sold the power plant and is now poised to see progress finally on the old hospital site and the Ben Hur Building.
Barton has also stepped across the aisle. He may have as much support from leading Democrats around the city as he does from Republicans. He is quick to point out that he is leading the charge to “make Crawfordsville great again.”
Pickett, on the other hand, offers very little in terms of concrete proposals and has little experience that would qualify him for the role as the CEO of the city.
That makes this an easy choice. The Paper believes voters should choose Barton.
The city council race is more interesting. There is one contested race, Ward 1. Republican Les Hearson is challenging incumbent David Christensen. In the At-Large race, Republican incumbent Andy Biddle and Republican candidate Lyn Wray will advance to the fall. On the Democratic side, incumbent Mike Reidy and candidate Joyce Burnette will do the same. In the November election, voters will then have to choose two of the four.
In the primary though, the current Council has done a good job. At this point there is no reason not to return incumbents to office. A case could be made that Les Hearson has experience as a former city councilman. However, Hearson also carries a great deal of baggage from the ill-fated John Zumer administration where the Accelplus debacle originated as well as another disaster in the form of a loan to failed Polyglot Press. Those missteps cost the city a great deal of money and for that reason, The Paper believes Christensen is the best choice.