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The Indiana Daily Student

city politics

A guide to Monroe County’s contested May primaries

2024elections-illo

Editors note: This is part of a series of stories covering the 2024 elections. Read the rest of the stories on our website.

There will be four contested major party primary races in Monroe County this year, including positions on the County Board of Commissioners and County Council. 

County Council At-Large Representative candidates 

This November, there will be three at-large county council seats up for grabs. The Monroe County Council is responsible for adopting the county’s annual budget and fixing tax rates to raise funds to meet budget requirements. The council also authorizes the county’s expenditures and approves job descriptions and salaries for all Monroe County offices.  

Four democrats — Cheryl Munson, David Henry, Matt Caldie and Trent Deckard — filed their declarations of candidacy for the roles.  

The council is comprised of seven members, with four representatives from specific districts and three at-large members. Councilmembers are elected to four-year terms. Currently, Deckard, Munson and Geoff McKim serve as the council’s at-large representatives. McKim is not seeking re-election. 

Deckard, an incumbent, has served on the council since 2019 and is currently the council’s president.  Deckard previously served as the chair of the Monroe County Democratic Party from 2013-2015, and as Chief of Staff for the Indiana House Democratic Caucus from 2015 to 2017.  

If re-elected, Munson would serve her fourth term on the council. She was the council’s president for two years. Munson retired from her position as a research scientist for the IU anthropology department in 2021 and served on the Indian Creek Township Board of Trustees for 16 years.  

David Henry has served as the chair of the Monroe County Democratic Party since January 2021, and his term expires in January 2025. Henry is also an adjunct professor at the O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs. He has served in various county positions including as president of the Monroe County Election Board and the public health emergency and bioterrorism coordinator for the Monroe County Health Department. 

Matt Caldie currently serves on the Bloomington Environmental Commission. Caldie is also a customer service representative for IU Parking Operations, according to his campaign website. Caldie ran for the District 5 seat on the Bloomington City Council last winter, but dropped out in February 2023 to support Shruti Rana, who was elected to the position in November 2023. 

Former Bloomington mayoral candidate Joe Davis also expressed he plans to run for an at-large seat on the council. However, Davis plans to run as an independent, so he will not appear on the primary ballot in May. The deadline for Davis to file as an independent candidate is July 15.  

County Commissioner District 2 race 

Two Democrats — Julie Thomas and Peter Iversen — filed declarations of candidacy for the District 2 seat on the Monroe County Board of Commissioners. District 2 represents Bloomington Township, which includes part of the city of Bloomington. 

Some of the Monroe County Board of Commissioners responsibilities include auditing and authorizing claims against the county, maintaining county properties and supervising maintenance of county roads and bridges. The Board of Commissioners can also appoint members to fill positions on various county boards, committees and commissions.  

Thomas, an incumbent, has served on the Board of Commissioners since 2012. She is currently the board’s president. Before joining the Board of Commissioners, she served on the Monroe County council for four years.  

Iversen has served on the Monroe County Council since 2019, where he was the council’s Personnel Administration Committee chair. Iversen is also a member of the council’s Justice Fiscal Advisory Committee, an advisory committee responsible for making budget recommendations about community justice in Monroe County. The council established this committee after the county commissioners suspended meetings for the Community Justice Response Committee in April 2023.  

County Commissioner District 3 race 

The county will see two contested major party primary races this May for the County Board of Commissioners District 3 seat. District 3 includes Benton Township, Clear Creek Township, Polk Township, Salt Creek Township, Washington Township and parts of Perry Township.  

Both Republican and Democratic candidates filed declarations of candidacy for this seat. Democrats Penny Githens, Jody Madeira and Steve Volan, as well as Republicans Joe VanDeventer and Paul White Sr., filed declarations of candidacy.  

Githens currently holds the Monroe County Board of Commissioners District 3 seat. The Monroe County Democratic Party selected her to fill a vacancy on the board in 2019, and she was elected in 2020. Githens also worked in various project management, faculty and research roles at IU, Vanderbilt University and Yale University. She ran for the District 62 seat in the Indiana House of Representatives in 2022 but lost to Republican challenger Dave Hall. 

Volan, a former member of the Bloomington City Council, also filed a declaration of candidacy for the primary. Volan held the District 6 seat on the council from 2004 to 2023, during which time he served as the council’s president, vice president and parliamentarian. He ran unsuccessfully for an at-large seat on the council in 2023. 

Democrat Jody Maderia, an IU law professor, is also running for the District 3 seat. Maderia joined the IU Law School faculty in 2007, and currently teaches courses about law and its connection to medicine, reproduction and childhood, and torts law. She is also the co-director of the Maurer School of Law Center for Law, Society and Culture 

Two republicans, Joe VanDeventer and Paul White Sr., also filed paperwork to appear on the primary ballot.  

VanDeventer is the director of street operations for the city of Bloomington.  

White is a bus driver for Area 10 Agency on Aging. He holds an associate degree from Trinity Bible College and graduated from the Billings Vocational Technical Institute and North American Van Lines Truck Driving School, according to his LinkedIn. He also ran for Monroe County recorder in 2022 but lost to Democrat Amy Swain 

Uncontested races 

Several candidates who filed declarations of candidacy do not currently have any challengers.  

Monroe Circuit Court judge incumbents Christine Talley Haseman, Catherine Stafford and Darcie Fawcett filed for re-election this month.  

Incumbent Trohn Enight-Randolph filed for re-election for Monroe County Surveyor. Jeff Hall, who worked as the county’s Chief Deputy Coroner, will run for Monroe County Coroner.  

Former Monroe County Auditor Catherine Smith filed paperwork to run for county treasurer. The Monroe County Democratic Party selected Smith to fill the vacant county treasurer position in January after former treasurer Jessica McClellan resigned. However, Smith will still run for election for this upcoming term.  

When Smith resigned from her position as county auditor, the Monroe County Democratic Party selected Brianne Gregory to fill the vacant auditor position. Gregory also filed a declaration of candidacy for this position. Like Smith, she must run for election to continue holding her appointed position after 2024. 

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