Thoughts on Carmel’s upcoming election


The filing deadline has passed for the upcoming 2015 primary election here in Carmel. Since Carmel is overwhelmingly Republican, these primaries essentially decide our leaders for the next four years. All candidates had to file their paperwork by Friday, Feb. 6, so here’s a chance to share a few thoughts on the elections.

Here’s who’s running:

James Brainard, Carmel Mayor (R) 1-20-15
Rick Sharp, Carmel Mayor (R) 1-26-15
Diana L. Cordray, Carmel City Clerk-Treasurer (R) 1-15-15
Christine Pauley, Carmel City Clerk-Treasurer (R) 1-22-15
Brian G. Poindexter, Carmel City Court Judge (R) 1-7-15
Laura D. Campbell, Carmel Common Council, District NW (R) 1-8-15
Keith L. Griffin, Carmel Common Council, District SW (R) 1-28-15
Carol Schleif, Carmel Common Council, District SW (R) 1-9-15
John V. Accetturo, Carmel Common Council, District NE (R) 2-6-15
Susan K. Finkam, Carmel Common Council, District NE (R) 1-16-15
Bruce Kimball, Carmel Common Council, District C (R) 1-22-15
W. Eric Seidensticker, Carmel Common Council, District C (R) 2-5-15
Luci Snyder, Carmel Common Council, District SE (R) 1-27-15
Jeff Worrell, Carmel Common Council, District SE (R) 2-3-15
Ronald Carter, Carmel Common Council, At Large (R) 1-20-15
Ron Houck, Carmel Common Council, At Large (R) 2-4-15
Kevin Woody Rider, Carmel Common Council, At Large (R) 1-28-15

Here was the outcome four years ago. Just thought I’d share because it’s interesting to see who won by how much, although I must say that you have to take these numbers with context. I spoke with people who wanted me to clarify that some candidates had very aggressive campaigns and lost, so the closer margins might not be a sign of weakness. For example, Rick Sharp’s opponent Michael Casati was heavily supported by Brainard-friendly supporters so its not meant by me as a “dig” at Sharp to present his election results. We’re just reporting the facts and just know that there are always more to the story beyond the numbers. That being said, it’s interesting to look at the numbers.

Carmel – Mayor
John V. Accceturo 2590 — 21.54%
Jim Brainard 7456 — 62.00%
Marnin J. Spigelman 1979 —  16.46

Carmel Court Judge
John G. Garman 1006 —  9.35%
Brian G. Poindexter 6562 — 61.00%
Kurt Snyder 3190 — 29.65%

Carmel Council At-Large
Ron Carter 6448 — 30.01%
Ron Houck 4358 — 20.28%
Kevin “Woody” Rider 7091 — 33.01%
Wayne Wilson 3587 — 16.70%

Carmel Council Northwest
Michael Casati 935 — 48.70%
Rick Sharp 985 — 51.30%

Carmel Council Southwest
Carol Schleif 1122 — 60.36%
Paul Wonch 737 — 39.64%

Carmel Council Central
Jane Reiman 1023 — 47.80%
W. Eric Seidensticker 1117  — 51.30%

Carmel Council Northeast
Sue Finkam 1379 — 52.27%
Joe Griffiths 386 — 14.63%
John R. Koven 873 — 33.09%

Carmel Council Southeast
Tom Kendall 1437 — 46.88%
Luci Snyder 1628–  53.12%

Curious about candidates’ campaign finances? Here’s where you can check out the reports. We will have a story summarizing this in a future issue. The deadline for newly filed candidate is in April so we’ll learn about Kimball, Worrell, Pauley and others in a few months.

Stray observations:

– Besides judge, there are no unopposed elections besides newcomer Laura Campbell. We were wondering if that would be the case. Accetturo and Houck filed later than the others, so before they filed it had appeared that Finkam, Carter and Rider ( who are seen as the Brainard-friendly voices on the council) would run unopposed. That’s no longer the case. Campbell appears to straddle the line and is friendly with both camps.

– Cordray faces an opponent for the first time since her first election in 1995. Cordray has butted heads with Brainard which leads some to believe that Pauley was “recruited” to run again Cordray. Pauley tells me that she doesn’t take a side for or against the mayor, but she’s been spotted at some Brainard events in the past.

– Worrell, who is a regular speaker at Carmel Chamber of Commerce events and a host of local show called “The Arts Scene,” is using his comfort on camera in a new campaign ad he released online. This is not an endorsement, just interesting to watch. I’m not posting the embedded video because I don’t want to appear to support one candidate or another, but just reporting that it’s out there if you’re interested in seeing it. I find that whether you like Worrell or don’t like him, if you follow the campaign it’s fun to look at what everyone is doing advertising wise and this was the first video I’ve seen so far. If there are other videos out there, send them to me. I’d love to see them.

– Sharp is spending a lot of money on campaign ads and while that isn’t necessarily in his end of year campaign report, it will be interesting to see how much he spends overall. He said he wants to spend campaign donations on advertisements and not on other things because he understands the responsibility involved with accepting someone’s money. He’s used a lot of Internet marketing with flash ads popping up during Web searches and on sites. My editor said she was searching for a vegetarian recipe and this popped up (I had a similar experience). Again, not endorsing any candidate but it’s fun to look at the strategies of each campaign and I thought it was interesting that we keep seeing those ads pop on Web searches.


– Watch how the upcoming election will affect votes on proposed ordinances before the Carmel City Council. It’s possible that a candidate might want to push an issue that they believe will resonate with voters because even if they don’t win the vote they can tell residents that their opponents shot the bill down. Someone told me that they thought the removal of the stop sign at 126th Street and Auman Drive was “political” and “because of the election.” I do not have an opinion on that, but I know that City Councilor Sue Finkam told me that she doesn’t have that intention. She points out that she introduced the bill back in November and that it was tabled and so that’s why it’s coming out now closer to the election. She said she doesn’t want to wait until after the election because she doesn’t want to see politics slow down policy. Obviously, some people have different opinions but I only report what I’m told. My observation that even issues that aren’t meant to be politicized and become politicized in an election and I think most people would agree with that.