- Anderson Mayor’s Race: “Lady and Gentlemen, Start Your Engines!”
- Slate of Eight, Including One Woman, Look to be Next Mayor of Anderson
Six Democrats and two Republicans filed candidacy papers before Friday’s noon deadline to run for Anderson mayor. In one of the most crowded mayoral fields in recent memory, history was made when Anderson Republicans balloted Heather Prophet for the May primary. She becomes the first Republican woman, and the third woman in Anderson history, to make a bid for mayor.
“Like many Anderson residents, I am concerned about the future of our city and what opportunities will exist for our children and grandchildren.”
Heather Prophet, Republican candidate for Anderson mayor
In announcing her candidacy, Prophet said, “Like many Anderson residents, I am concerned about the future of our city and what opportunities will exist for our children and grandchildren. The next mayor of Anderson needs to successfully address the growing challenges of underemployment, crime, and crumbling public infrastructure facing Anderson families.”
According to THB, incumbent Mayor Kevin Smith responded that he expected a primary opponent. “Anytime there is public debate and discussion it’s a good thing,” Smith said.
Smith holds a B.S. degree in criminal justice from Ball State University and hosts a three-hour political radio talk show each week in Daleville. Prophet holds a B.A. degree in accounting from Anderson University and is a licensed insurance agent in Anderson.
Democrats have lined up six challengers to oppose the Republican primary winner. They include former Anderson mayor Kris Ockomon; former Madison County prosecutor, Thomas Broderick, Jr.; city councilman, Rodney Chamberlain; county councilman Fred Reese, past mayoral candidate Paul McClish and newcomer Don Muckelbauer.
Women Dismissed by Rock,
Smith Switches Parties
Prophet’s historic Republican mayoral bid comes 12 years after longtime Anderson Township assessor Dorothy Manis and Anderson School Board member Irma Hampton Stewart both made a 2003 run for the Democrat nomination. The attempt by Manis and Stewart to upend fellow Democrat Robert Rock, Jr. took place during a wild election year when Andersonian’s witnessed Kevin Smith switch political parties and run as a Republican after losing the Democrat primary four years earlier to former Anderson mayor, J. Mark Lawler.
Seven of 16 Republican candidates this year are women, and six of 24 Democrats. Eleven of 12 races, including: mayor, city clerk, city judge, three council at-large seats, and five city council district seats, could be won by women in November. City council district #5 is the only office where a woman did not file. In that race, Republican Josh Gaskill faces Art Pepelea, Jr. in the Republican primary. Lance Stephenson is unopposed as a Democrat.
In addition to Heather Prophet (Mayor), Republican women candidates include: Stephanie Wade (Judge), Tammy Rimer, Lisa Singleton-Roberts (At-Large), Jennifer Culp (District #1), Connie Gardner (District #3) and Angela Shead (District #6).
Six Democrat women have filed, including: Sheila Ashley (City Clerk), Becky Crumes, Janice Thompson, and Robin Wagner (At-Large), Donna Davis (District #2), and Coco Armstrong (District #3).
Primary election day is Tuesday, May 5, 2015.