Students host meet candidate forum

NEW PALESTINE — For the undecided voter, it could be one last chance to break a tie.

Two New Palestine High School seniors plan to host a meet-the-candidates event next month, days before voters will head to the polls. Alex Mohr and Ethan Fairbanks have organized the entire event, set for 2 p.m. April 29 in the New Palestine High School auditorium. It began as a project for their advanced business management course but turned into an opportunity to encourage community members to become politically involved, Fairbanks said.

The event will take place nine days before the May 8 primary and will likely serve as one of the last opportunities for community members to meet candidates.

This election season is one of the busiest Hancock County has seen in recent memory, election officials said. About a dozen local races are contested, and state and national offices will see heated contests as well.

The students’ event compliments other forums this spring. The Hancock County Young Republicans group hosted a series of forums for residents to meet candidates in contested races, and the Daily Reporter and Leadership Hancock County will put on a series of debates for local races next month.

Mohr and Fairbanks began planning the event in the fall and contacted Hancock County Clerk Marcia Moore, who oversees the county’s elections, for help.

They sent letters out to candidates last week to invite them to participate. Candidates in nearly every race will be present. In addition to local candidates, Mohr and Fairbanks invited candidates running for the District 6 U.S. House of Representatives seat and U.S. Senate candidates to participate.

Before and after the event, members of the Hancock County League of Women Voters will be on hand to help residents register to vote, they said.

The deadline to register to vote in the primary is April 9, but residents who aren’t registered can sign up to vote in November’s general election.

Mohr said he and his classmate wanted to help candidates and residents who would be their constituents connect ahead of election day.

The best way to be politically engaged is to know the candidates running to represent you, to have had those face-to-face conversations, Mohr said.

Each candidate who chooses to participate will be given time to introduce themselves and speak about their campaign.

After, the public is invited to stick around and ask the candidates questions and get to know them further.

Mohr and Fairbanks hope the event leads to increased voter participation May 8.

The auditorium can hold more than 800 people, and Fairbanks and Mohr hope to see it full, they said.

Coming up

The Daily Reporter and Leadership Hancock County have partnered to host a series of debates next month for Hancock County’s hottest races. Stay tuned for details about those events.

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On the ballot

* Denotes incumbent

U.S. House of Representatives, District 6

  • Mike Campbell (R)
  • Jonathan M. Lamb (R)
  • Stephen M. MacKenzie (R)
  • Greg Pence (R)
  • Jeff Smith (R)
  • George T. Holland (D)
  • Jeannine Lee Lake (D)
  • K. (Jasen) Lave (D)
  • Jim Pruett (D)
  • Lane Siekman (D)
  • Joshua Williamson (D)

U.S. Senate:

  • Mike Braun (R)
  • Luke Messer (R)
  • Todd Rokita (R)
  • Joe Donnelly (D)*

State Representative, District 53

  • Bob Cherry (R)*
  • Nancy Tibbett (D)

State Representative, District 57

  • Luke Campbell (R)
  • Sean Eberhart (R)*

State Representative, District 88

  • Brian Bosma (R)*
  • Poonam Gill (D)

Hancock Circuit judge

  • DJ Davis (R)
  • Scott Sirk (R)
  • Scott Wooldridge (R)

Hancock County prosecutor

  • Grey Chandler (R)
  • Brent Eaton (R) *
  • Bob Elsea (R)

Clerk of the circuit court

  • Lisa Eberhardt Lofgreen (R)
  • Mark Lozier (R)
  • Miriam Rolles (R)

Hancock County auditor

  • Heather Bussell (R)
  • Debra Carnes (R)

Hancock County recorder

  • Marcia Moore (R)
  • Susie Albertson Morris (R)

Hancock County sheriff

  • Wayne Addison (R)
  • Brad Burkhart (R)
  • Donnie Munden (R)
  • Donnie ‘Smitty’ Smith (R)

Hancock County surveyor

  • Susan A Bodkin (R)

Hancock County assessor

  • Katie Molinder (R)
  • Cindy Wolski Roberts (R)

Hancock County commissioner, District 2

  • Kent Fisk (R)
  • Marc Huber (R)*

Hancock County Council

District 1

  • Jeannine Gray (R)*

District 2

  • Mary Noe (R)
  • Randy Sorrell (R)*

District 3

  • Will Ronan (R)
  • Jim Shelby (R)*

District 4

  • William Bolander (R)*

Blue River Township trustee

  • Daniel Engleking (R)

Brandywine Township trustee

  • Sandra Matthias (R)

Brown Township trustee

  • Theresa Ebbert (R)

Buck Creek Township trustee

  • Melvin Branson (R)
  • Erin Harsin-Jordan (R)

Center Township trustee

  • Ron Horning (R)

Green Township trustee

  • Lisa Mohr (R)

Jackson Township trustee

  • Matthew Heath (R)

Sugar Creek Township trustee

  • Robert E. Boyer (R)
  • Jayson Combs (R)

Vernon Township trustee

  • Florence L. May (R)

Fortville Town Council, at-large

  • Robert J. Sterrett (R)

Fortville Town Council, District 2

  • Robert C. Holland (R)*

McCordsville Town Council, at-large (two seats)

  • Tom Strayer (R)*
  • Barry Wood (R)*
Author photo
Samm Quinn is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3275 or