First candidates file for 2014 primary in Lake County
By Carrie Napoleon Post-Tribune correspondent January 10, 2014 7:04PM
Updated: February 12, 2014 6:16AM
CROWN POINT — Snow-packed roads and frigid temperatures translated into a slow start for candidate filings for the 2014 election season.
“I’m thinking we might see more of an uptick next week,” Michelle Fajman, director of the Lake County Board of Elections and Voter’s Registration, said Friday.
Every seat on the Lake County Council is up for election this year and incumbents were among the first to file their intent to retain their seats, or in the case of Councilmen David Hamm, D-Hammond, and Eldon Strong, R-Crown Point, who were appointed through party caucus to fill vacancies, conduct their first campaigns.
Only Councilman Jerome Prince, D-Gary, is not seeking to retain his post. Prince has his eye on the Lake County Assessor’s Office, a seat Democrats lost in 2010 to the late Hank Adams, who was the first Republican in 50 years to win a countywide post.
Adams resigned his position earlier this year and shortly before his death as he battled with cancer. Lake County Republicans chose Jolie Covaciu to replace Adams during a caucus. Covaciu has filed her intent to retain that position.
Michael Troxell, a Democrat from Crown Point, also is vying to be county assessor.
Three Democrats so far are looking to take over for Prince as the District 3 county councilman: Jamal Washington of Merrillville, and Gary residents Ron Matlock and Omar (Carl Hemphill) Abdallah.
Incumbent Christine Cid, D-East Chicago, is looking to retain her District 5 seat. She is the only incumbent so far facing a same-party challenge in the primary. Scott Rakos of Hammond has filed for the post.
District 2 incumbent Elsie Franklin, D-Gary, District 6 incumbent Ted Bilski, D-Hobart, and District 4 incumbent Dan Dernulc, R-Highland, are so far unchallenged within their parties. Democrat Katy Dowling has filed for the District 4 spot and is so far unchallenged.
Only one of the three county commissioner positions is up for election in 2014, that held by incumbent Roosevelt Allen Jr., who has filed to retain his post and is so far unchallenged.
Incumbent Treasurer John Petalas and incumbent Auditor Peggy Holinga Katona are looking to swap posts. Katona is planning a run for treasurer and Petalas for auditor. So far neither is challenged. Incumbent Mike Brown will seek another term as Lake County clerk.
Lake County Sheriff John Buncich, who has announced his plan to run for re-election but has not yet filed, is facing a challenge from fellow Democrat Oscar Martinez Jr. The sheriff’s race often draws some of the most candidates.
Republicans have not yet come forward with candidates for the majority of the positions up for grabs this year.
Fajman said filing is open for 30 days and candidates often wait until later in the filing period to make their intentions known. Ballot position is determined by lottery, eliminating the rush to be first.