Brainard, Sharp announce campaigns for mayor of Carmel


By Adam Aasen and Sophie Pappas


The race to Carmel mayor is a whole lot clearer now.

Even though he announced months ago, Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard made his re-election campaign official by filing his paperwork on Jan. 20. Rick Sharp announced his run for mayor against Brainard Jan. 26.

“I’ve never run in a citywide campaign so I’m excited to start campaigning,” Sharp said.


Sharp said his strategy is to remain positive, even though he wants to show his contrast against Brainard’s methods and spending philosophy.

“My wife and my close friends have instructions to beat me with a club if I start talking negative,” Sharp said. “Because the voters deserve better than that.”

Sharp said he is looking forward to possible public debates during the next three months of campaigning in what he called a “sprint” to the May election, noting that economic development and jobs for Carmel residents is at the top of his list if he were to become mayor.

“That, along with real transparency,” Sharp said.

So far, he’s had positive responses from the community; including one Carmel resident who reached out and said that after working the phone banks for two of Brainard’s campaigns he thinks it’s “time for a change.”

“He told me to give him a call,” Sharp said. “Even though this is not an anti-Brainard campaign.”

Brainard said that he, too, is looking forward to a good discussion about “where the city is headed and the progress we’ve made and the progress we’d like to make.”

Brainard said the big issue is, “what people want in the community” and he highlighted success in job creations and keeping tax rates low. Sharp said he thinks the city’s mounting debt should also be brought up again.

In the past three elections, Brainard received 62 percent of the vote in 2011, 59 percent of the vote in 2007 and 65 percent of vote in 2003. If Brainard wins this time, it will be his sixth term.

According to campaign finance reports filed this week, Sharp reported raising $94,064 in 2014 and Brainard raised $227,277, both of which include cash in hand.

Sharp actually praises the mayor helping build Carmel into what it is today, but he thinks the future will require a prudent manager more than a dreamer.

“I’ve said to many people that I’m not against Jim Brainard. This is not personal,” he said. “I’m in opposition to some of the policies and management decisions. I’ve spent decades in business and my business experience making decisions about healthcare, cost-cutting would be to the advantage of continuing to moving Carmel forward and avoiding the risky policies of this administration.”