Late filing sets council race

Brownstown residents will have a reason to go the polls on the first Tuesday of November after a businessman filed to run for a seat on the town council.

Democrat Jim Weesner Jr. filed his declaration of candidacy with the county’s clerk office Thursday, beating Monday’s deadline for anyone wishing to run for office in a town.

Weesner is running for the Ward 2 seat now held by Republican Bethany Botkin Brewster. She was appointed to that seat earlier this year when Ben Lewis resigned because of his decision to move out of town. Brewster announced her plans to run for the seat earlier in the filing period.

Registered voters in Brownstown vote for all five council seats every four years, though council candidates still run by ward, county Clerk Amanda Lowery said.

Weesner, who moved to Brownstown with his family as a child, said his decision to run came about because of his desire to help enhance the community where he has spent most of his life. He now operates his family’s business, Winklepleck-Weesner Funeral Home, in Brownstown.

“I just felt like I needed to be more active and participate in the community where I live,” he said.

Weesner wasn’t the only candidate who filed as the deadline neared. On Friday, Danieta Gullett Foster of Crothersville decided to enter the race for one of five at-large council seats in that town. She became the ninth candidate. Crothersville residents also vote for all five seats on the council.

Besides setting up the council race in Brownstown and adding another candidate to the list of those seeking a Crothersville council seat, there’s only one other piece of business that needs taken care of before the Nov. 3 ballot is set.

That involves the Brownstown Town Council Ward 3 seat presently held by C.J. Foster. The Republican, wrapping up his first term, faces a challenge from political newcomer Matt Smith, also a Republican. The two will square off in a caucus from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Aug. 21 at the Jackson County Courthouse in Brownstown.

The race between Weesner and Brewster also means Brownstown will have to pay the county clerk’s office to run the election.

Lowery said the town paid $5,000 to have the county run the election in 2011 and will pay that amount again. The cost is based upon the population of each municipal. Four years ago, Crothersville paid the county $2,500 to run its election and Medora paid $1,500.

Seymour paid $16,882.25 to the county for this year’s primary and will pay about the same for the general election, Lowery said.

Crothersville also has a clerk-treasurer’s race pitting Republican Terry L. Richey, the incumbent, against Democrat NaLona Bush. In January 2014, Richey replaced Michele Teipen, who defeated Bush in 2011, after Teipen moved out of town.

Besides Gullett Foster, the other eight candidates filing declarations of candidacies for the five Crothersville council seats are Democrats Nancy Hopper, Geoffrey Walker, Robert “Bob” Lyttle, Brenda Holzworth and Lenvel “Butch” Robinson, and Republicans Chad Wilson, Jerad T. Sporleder and J.D. Woods.

There are just two races on the ballot for Seymour council seats. The first pits political newcomer Tammy Riordan, a Democrat, against incumbent Republican Councilman Jim Rebber for the District 4 seat.

The second race features incumbent at-large Councilman Lloyd Hudson, who is running for one of two seats; Republicans Darrin Boas and newcomer Kendra Zumhingst, who won the party’s vote in the May primary for two at-large council seats; and independent Shawn Malone.

Boas currently holds the other at-large seat after being chosen in January by a Republican caucus to fill a vacancy.

Lowery was checking with the state election division to determine if Medora will have to conduct an election since the only people filing for offices were incumbent council members Republicans Sharon Bowers and Jim Davers and Democrat Robert K. Thompson and the town’s longtime clerk-treasurer, Democrat Betty Campbell.

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