1st race for Seymour Republican primary takes shape

A decision by a Seymour man to run for office for the first time has set up a race for the May 5 municipal primary.

Republican Dave Pollert visited the Jackson County Clerk’s Office on Friday to file a declaration of candidacy for the city council District 3 seat held by Danny Sloan.

On Wednesday, Republican Matt Nicholson filed a declaration of candidacy for the same seat. He also is a political newcomer.

Sloan was picked by a caucus when Andy Hagedorn resigned after moving out of the city. Sloan has not announced whether he will run for a full term.

Pollert, who grew up in Seymour and graduated from Seymour High School, said he doesn’t have any political agenda. He just would like a chance to serve and offer what he can bring to the table, he said.

Other recent filings include Republican Fred D. Lewis, who has served six terms as Seymour clerk-treasurer, and David Willey, a Democrat seeking a second full term as clerk-treasurer in Brownstown.

Lewis, who has run unopposed for the past five elections, does not have an opponent at this time, and neither does Willey, who was appointed to replace Rebecka Fee in May 2010. Fee was forced out of office after a state audit revealed she had overpaid herself nearly $370,000 over a four-year period. She later received a 33-month sentence in federal prison.

Willey said his initial time as clerk-treasurer was spent trying to improve the integrity of the office, and he said he thinks that has been accomplished.

“I enjoy my job, and I like the direction the town council is taking in trying to clean up the town,” he said. Those efforts include sidewalk projects and improvements at the park.

Willey said he’s been able to implement a new accounting system for the town and to make upgrades that now allow people to pay their sewer bills online.

In the coming years, Willey said, he would like to see town officials work with the chamber of commerce and focus on supporting existing businesses and bringing new businesses to town.

The other new filings were Republican political newcomers Dovie Stidham and Kendra Zumhingst, both of whom are seeking one of the two at-large Seymour City Council seats.

Stidham said she thinks it’s probably time for change.

“New blood, I think, is always good,” she said. “People have different opinions.”

Stidham said she is open to new ideas and concerns.

Zumhingst said that, as chairwoman of the Young Republicans, she has had the chance to work with other local candidates during their campaigns.

“I would just like to be a part of it,” she said.

Earlier filings for Seymour offices are Republican Mayor Craig Luedeman seeking a third term; Democrat John J. Reinhart, seeking a third term in city council District 1; Republican Jim Rebber, seeking a sixth term in District 4; and Republican Brian “Bubba” D’Arco, seeking a second term in District 2.

In Brownstown, town council candidates include incumbent Republicans John Nolting (Ward 1), Ben Lewis (Ward 2) and C.J. Foster (Ward 3) and Democrat Bill Sweeney (Ward 4). Republican Sally Cate Lawson has filed a declaration of candidacy for the Ward 5 seat, which fellow Republican Dustin Steward holds. Steward does not plan to run again.

Medora Clerk-Treasurer Betty Campbell also has filed a declaration of candidacy.

“I really enjoy the work,” she said.

Campbell, who is seeking a fourth full term, said she also likes the fact that the job gives her a chance to talk with fellow Medora residents about issues the town faces.

How to file

The filing period for the May 5 municipal primary began Wednesday and ends at noon Feb. 6. To file a declaration of candidacy, visit the Jackson County Clerk’s Office at the courthouse in Brownstown. For information, call 812-358-6120.

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Aubrey Woods is editor of The (Seymour) Tribune. He can be reached at awoods@tribtown.com or 812-523-7051.