Former BMV commissioner joins race for 5th District


Zionsville resident Kent Abernathy announced Oct. 7 that he will run for Congress.

Kent Abernathy, an Army veteran and former Bureau of Motor Vehicles commissioner, is running as a Republican for the 5th District seat to be vacated by U.S. Rep. Susan Brooks at the end of her term.

Kent Abernathy of Zionsville became the new commissioner of the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles in February. (Photo by Lisa Price)
Abernathy (Photo by Lisa Price)

“We need leaders in Washington willing to make the tough decisions to defend the constitution, to pay down our debt, to honor our veterans, and to support our military,” Abernathy tweeted after announcing his campaign.

Other Republicans in the race are Indiana State Treasurer Kelly Mitchell, Noblesville pastor Micah Beckwith, fund accountant Danny Niederberger and pediatric doctor Chuck Dietzen. Former state representative Steve Braun also joined the race but announced Oct. 7 he was suspending his campaign to address a medical issue.

Abernathy grew up in Redkey, Ind., a tiny town about 20 miles northeast of Muncie. He attended West Point and became an officer in the U.S. Army, serving at Fort Knox, Ky., Fort Bragg, N.C., and in Korea.

After entering civilian life, Abernathy began working in the banking industry in New York City, near where his wife, Karen, grew up. His career eventually brought him to Indianapolis, where he served as a vice president with National City Bank and Bank One.

In 2003, Abernathy returned to the military, serving in leadership at the Pentagon, as chief of staff of the Iraq Assistance Group in Baghdad and as the interim director of the U.S. Central Command Washington Liaison Office.

He served as BMV commissioner from 2015 to 2017.

Abernathy and his wife have three sons.