Goodwin, former independent, now files as Democrat

On the heels of losing a very close mayoral election as an independent candidate, former Terre Haute city engineer Pat Goodwin has filed to run as a Democrat in the May 5 primaries, which are attracting multiple candidates for several Vigo County offices.

Friday was the last day major party candidates could file for office in Indiana. Independent or minor party candidates are to file by June 30. That is also the date for the Libertarian Party to conduct a convention to nominate candidates.

Goodwin, who'd earlier said he would seek county office as an independent, said Friday he chose the Democratic Party primary to seek the District 2 seat on the Vigo County Board of Commissioners because of his voting record in the last primary. 

“In 2019, I voted in the democratic primary, which had several contested races,” he said. “As a result, I am eligible to run in this year’s Democratic primary.

“In Indiana in a presidential election year, straight party voting makes it virtually impossible for an independent candidate to win elected office,” Goodwin said. “In 2016, more than 40% of voters chose to vote for one of the two major parties rather than individual candidates. I owe it to my supporters to put myself in the best position to win in 2020.”

Goodwin, owner of Tractor Tools Direct, an e-commerce company that sells agricultural equipment, said that running as a major party candidate will not change his view of local issues. 

“I still believe that local politics are non-partisan, and I still plan to work for [county residents], not a political party, regardless of the letter next to my name," Goodwin said.

Other Democrat candidates for the District 2 Commissioner seat are David R. (Dave) Crockett, a former county clerk; and Brian DeHart, a lieutenant with the Vigo County Sheriff's Department. Incumbent Vigo County Commissioner Judith Anderson did not seek re-election.

Only one Republican, Chris Switzer, a Vigo County Councilman, filed for the District 2 seat for county commissioner.

For the District 3 Commissioner seat, Republican Mike Morris, president of the Vigo County Council, has filed. 

Democrats Steve (Top Guns) Ellis, a Terre Haute business owner, and Jeffery W. (Jeff) Fisher, Terre Haute Fire Chief, filed for the District 3 Commissioner seat. 

Incumbent Vigo County Commissioner Brad Anderson did not seek re-election.

Vigo County Council

Three at-large seats are up for election on the Vigo County Council, attracting several candidates.

Democrat candidates include Marie Belzile-Theisz, a teacher at North Vigo High School; Ryan Carter, who lost in a Terre Haute City Council race last year;  Derek D. Gibson, for whom the Tribune-Star was unable to obtain candidate information on Friday; Brandon R. Halleck, chief operating officer for Chances And Services for Youth; Aaron D. Loudermilk, a Terre Haute police captain and Vigo Councilman; James R. (Jim) Mann II, a teacher at Terre Haute South Vigo High School and Vigo County Councilman; Donald W. (Don) Morris, a former Terre Haute City Councilman; and Ed Ping, a former Vigo County Councilman.

Republican candidates include Lucas T. G. Bendzsa, a Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology student who served as an intern for Mike Braun before Braun became a U.S. Senator; Thomas William (Tom) Bogigian, a self-employed voting machine technician; Steven B. Neice, on-site technician for Tomo Drug Testing; and Travis L. Norris, owner of Prox Lawn Care in Terre Haute.

Vigo County Clerk

Candidates for clerk include incumbent Republican Bradley M. (Brad) Newman. Democrats candidates are Todd Nation, who is a Terre Haute City Councilman, and Crystal M. Reynolds, who holds a doctorate in education and works at Hamilton Center in education administration.

Vigo County Auditor

Incumbent Auditor James W. (Jim) Bramble filed as a Democrat. Rebecca L. Coleman, a West Terre Haute business owner, filed as a Republican.

Vigo County Treasurer

Incumbent Treasurer Nancy S. Allsup filed as a Democrat. Josie Swalls-Thompson, a branch manager at First Financial Bank, filed as a Republican.

Vigo County Recorder

Incumbent Recorder Stacee (Joy) Todd filed as a Democrat. Dianna Winsted-Smith filed as a Republican. She is a stay home mother, but previously worked for more than 20 years in commercial sales. She ran for a District 2 seat on the Terre Haute City Council last year.

Vigo County Coroner

With incumbent Coroner Susan S. Amos unable to seek re-election due to term limits, several candidates have filed for the county coroner's post. 

They include Democrat candidates John Thomas Fitzpatrick and Gary G. Greiner, both funeral directors; Janie Myers, a doctor at Terre Haute Regional Hospital; and Theresa (Shelly) Wormser, a deputy Vigo County coroner.

Republican candidates are Theodore H. (Ted) Lemke, a Terre Haute police sergeant; and Luke Treadway, senior technician for Highland Retina Associates in Terre Haute. He is the oldest son of Bill Treadway, former chair of the Vigo County Republican Party.

Judge, Vigo County Superior Court 2

Incumbent Judge Lakshmi (Lucky) Reddy filed as a Democrat. No Republican filed.

Judge Vigo County Superior Court 5

Incumbent Democrat Judge Michael R. Rader did not seek re-election, opening the seat up for two Democrat candidates. They are Matthew R. (Matt) Effner, a Terre Haute attorney, and Matthew A. Sheehan, Terre Haute City Court Judge. No Republican filed.

U.S. Rep. District 8

Incumbent U.S. Rep. Larry D. Bucshon filed as a Republican. Democrats candidates are Ron Drake, an attorney who served in the Indiana House of Representatives for two terms, from 1962 to 1966; E. Thomasina Marsili, a small business operator and registered EMT from Spencer; and Mike Webster, a resident of Evansville.

Indiana State Rep. District 42

Incumbent Rep. Alan Morrison filed as a Republican. Democrats candidates are Amy Burke Adams, supervisory federal law enforcement officer with the U.S. Department of Justice and a Clay Community Schools board of trustees; Jasen Lave, creative writer/musician; Brandi Cooper Vandivier, a neonatal nurse practitioner at OSF Healthcare.  

Indiana State Rep. District 43

Incumbent Rep. Tonya Pfaff filed as a Democrat. Bill Treadway, professor at Indiana Wesleyan University and chair of the Terre Haute Board of Zoning Appeals and a former Vigo County Republican chairman, filed as a Republican.

Indiana State Rep. District 45

Incumbent Rep. Bruce Borders filed as a Republican. Jeff Gormong, manager of Gormong Family Farms and member Indiana Farm Bureau state board of directors, also filed as a Republican. No Democrat filed.

Indiana State Rep. District 46

Incumbent Rep. Bob Heaton filed as a Republican. No Democrats filed.

Reporter Howard Greninger can be reached 812-231-4204 or Follow on Twitter@TribStarHoward.

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