Johnson County GOP challenges 6th District candidate

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The candidacy of a man running for Indiana’s 6th Congressional District is being challenged by the Johnson County GOP chair.

Chair Beth Boyce filed a challenge against the candidacy of Sid Mahant, who is one of eight Republicans running in the 6th District primary. The challenge, signed Thursday, was filed with the Indiana Election Commission.

Mahant described the challenge as “shameful” in a message to the Daily Journal.

“Our Republican Party always talks about bringing all the communities closer and wants diversity in the party, but Beth Boyce’s actions speak opposite to the party’s visions,” he said via email. “Beth[’s] actions shows there is no welcome to the blue collar community in the Republican party.”

Boyce was joined in the challenge by the Republican party chairs in all 10 other counties that make up the 6th District: Bartholomew, Fayette, Hancock, Henry, Marion, Randolph, Rush, Shelby, Union and Wayne. It sends a strong message that the party chairs signed onto the challenge, she said.

“Because this is his county of residence, I chose to file it, but I think it sends a pretty strong message that all of us are supportive,” Boyce said.

The challenge against Mahant is based on his voting history, or lack thereof. Under Indiana law, Republican primary candidates must have either cast a GOP ballot in the last two primary elections they voted in, or received a certification from the Republican party chair in the county they reside in that they are a member of the GOP.

Mahant has done neither, the complaint says. He also failed to acknowledge this on his declaration of candidacy form, according to the complaint.

Boyce attached Mahant’s voting records to the complaint, which show that he has only voted in one Indiana primary: the 2018 Republican primary.

Mahant, nor anyone acting on his behalf, had reached out to Boyce to have her certify he is a member of the GOP. His voting records show he was registered to vote in Steuben County until Feb. 1, which was the same day he filed his declaration of candidacy claiming residency in Johnson County, specifically in Greenwood.

This meant he had “a brief period of time” to seek Boyce’s certification, but he did not, the complaint shows.

This is not the first time the two-primary requirement, nor the county party chair’s certification, has caused issues for potential candidates.

Republican U.S. Senate candidate John Rust filed a lawsuit challenging the requirements, saying it barred the vast majority of Hoosiers from running under their preferred party. An injunction was initially issued in Rust’s favor by a Marion County judge, but the Indiana Supreme Court stayed that order Thursday, making it possible for Rust’s candidacy to be challenged.

Five challenges were filed against Rust. His challenges, along with the challenge against Mahant and others, will be heard before the Indiana Election Commission at 10 a.m. Feb. 27 in Indianapolis.