GREENFIELD — With the Republicans rallying last week and the Democrats this week, national conventions have put excitement in the air for the Nov. 6 election.
And while all eyes go to the top of the ballot for the hottest races, local candidates are hoping for some of the spotlight in their quest for county or state seats.
In addition to seven school board races in four local districts, there are several contested races in Hancock County. County council, commissioner and coroner seats are up for grabs, along with spots in the state Legislature.
With several new names mixed with a few familiar faces, it could be difficult for voters to keep up with the choices. Here is a glance at what voters can expect to see in the next two months in county races.
HANCOCK COUNTY COUNCIL
Four candidates are running for three at-large spots. Kent Fisk, Debbie Bledsoe and Marc Huber won the Republican nominations in May, with Fisk receiving the most votes. Earl Smith, the lone Democrat, will have to work hard to raise money and campaign to crack the ranks of a board that has been dominated for years by Republicans. This race is unusual because no incumbents are on the ballot.
With no Republican on the ballot following the departure of Tamara Vangundy, the race for the part-time elected spot will go to one of three newcomers. Democrat Crystel Myers and independents Joe Fortner and Dan Devoy will have to convince voters of their qualifications for the job. Still, the GOP caucus this month to determine who will fill the the rest of the term could influence the election. All three candidates have expressed interest in filling the rest of Vangundy’s term.
HANCOCK COUNTY COMMISSIONER
Incumbent Republican Brad Armstrong is vying for his second term, and he’s being challenged by Democrat Mike Merlau. This is the second time the pair have gone head to head. In 2008, both were newcomers, but Armstrong won handily. This time, Armstrong has a record to defend, and Merlau will have to develop a platform and campaign hard to give himself a chance at victory.
Not all seats on the ballot this year are contested. Here’s a look at the uncontested races. All those running are Republicans:
Commissioner District 1: Tom Stevens; treasurer: Janice Silvey; Circuit judge: Richard D. Culver; state representative District 88: Brian Bosma (district includes precincts M-1, M-1 southeast, M-2, V-1, V-1 northwest, F-1, F-2C-2, and B-C 1-5)
Oct. 8: First day for early voting in the courthouse
Oct. 9: Deadline to register to vote for the election
Oct. 19: Campaign finance reports must be filed
Oct. 25: First day homebound people may vote before an absentee voter board
Oct. 27 and Nov. 3: Courthouse open for early voting
Nov. 5: Final day to vote early.
Nov. 6: General election day: Polls open 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.
For questions on voter registration, absentee voting or campaign finances, call the Hancock County Election Office at (317) 477-1171.