SOUTHERN INDIANA — For the first time since 2014, six of the eight elected judicial seats in Clark and Floyd counties will be on the ballots this year.
In Floyd County, Superior Court Nos. 1, 2 and 3 are all up for re-election while in Clark County, Circuit Court Nos. 1, 2 and 3 are up for grabs.
While they still have several weeks to file for re-election, some sitting judges have already filed the paperwork at the Indiana Statehouse and at least one already faces competition.
In Clark County, Circuit Court No. 1 Judge Brad Jacobs (R) and Circuit Court No. 3 Judge Joseph P. Weber (D) have both filed for re-election, and Circuit Court Judge No. 1 Andrew Adams (R) has told the News and Tribune he intends to file this week.
Adams and Jacobs, both elected in 2014, said they are seeking a second term in part to continue their work in helping the people who pass through their respective courts in their recovery from addiction.
"Sometimes that means probation, sometimes a residential treatment facility, and sometime that means prison," Jacobs said in a text message. "But with my population, recovery means less recidivism." Jacobs handles all of the county's felony drug cases which don't also include a violent felony or OWI charge.
Adams said he wants to continue working with Floyd County Superior Court No. 3 Judge Maria Granger on the Veterans Court of Southern Indiana, and programs borne out of his own court — the Clark County Addiction Treatment and Support Program to help those in the criminal justice system avoid returning to jail through treatment, and the recently funded Southern Indiana Life Improvement Project, to help link people who are not in the criminal justice system with services.
"Over my career, it's been an ongoing issue and until the past few years the government entities weren't really focused on it," Adams said. "But now they've become interested in helping thus [it] is giving us more opportunity to help others."
Republican candidates Dan Moore and Kyle P. Williams have also filed to run for Clark County Circuit Court No. 1, according to the most recent information available from the Indiana Secretary of State's website. No opponents are yet listed for courts 2 and 3.
"We've got to restore justice, service and stability," Moore said, regarding his run for Circuit No. 1 against Judge Adams. "It's been a horrible year of surprises in Circuit 1."
Adams and Jacobs were both suspended in fall by the Indiana Supreme Court after misconduct charges were filed against them and a Crawford County judge for an verbal-turned physical altercation in Indianapolis in May that led to the shooting of Adams and Jacobs; both have since returned to the bench. Adams was also charged and pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor related to the incident.
Moore added that he wants to get out into the community and talk to kids, help them understand the courts system so the first interaction they have isn't during an arrest.
"The legal system needs to be more service-oriented and less dependent on old fashioned ways," Moore said.
In Floyd County, Superior Court No. 3 Judge Maria Granger is seeking a third term, first elected in 2008. Granger wants to continue work started early in her tenure with the formation of what's now called the Veterans Court of Southern Indiana, the first of its kind in the state. Granger said she started the court and has helped others in the state begin theirs to "insure Hoosier veterans dealing with legal trouble, trauma, shame or grief after military service get help wherever they live," according to a news release regarding her candidacy.
“I care enormously about my service," she said, according to the release. "Giving my best to Floyd County as Judge of Superior Court 3 is both my honor and my pledge."
Floyd County Superior Court No. 2 Judge James Hancock has also filed for re-election; Floyd County Superior Court No. 1 Judge Susan Orth had not indicated by press time whether she has filed or intends to. No others had filed for the Floyd County seats by Thursday afternoon, according to the Indiana Secretary of State's Website.
At the state level, Ind. Rep. for District 66 Terry Goodin (D) has filed for re-election, along with Republican Brian Tibbs. In District 70, Republican Karen Engleman has filed for re-election and is at this time unopposed.
Democrats Mark J. Powell, James C. O'Gabhann and D. Liam Dorris have also filed for the Indiana Congressional District 9 seat currently held by Republican Trey Hollingsworth, who confirmed last week he is seeking re-election.
So far this week, only three candidates, besides judges, have filed to run in the Primary Election in Floyd County. Last week Anthony Oxendine filed for coroner. Candidates have until Feb. 7 to file for the primary.
Democrat Brad Striegel will seek a fourth term on the Floyd County Council running in the at-large race while Republican Dale Bashaw filed seeking a second term as an at-large councilman.
Democrat Thomas Lenfert filed to run for Floyd County Commissioners, District 3.
Striegel said the council and the county have a lot of positive momentum now and he wants to see it continue as the motivating factor for running for a fourth term.
“We’ve have come a long way from where we were when I first ran,” Striegel, who is president of the council, said. “We are now planning for the future and leaving a legacy through our Legacy Foundation. We have worked through a lot of issues and I am excited about our future moving forward.”
Striegel said he is proud of the way the council members cross party lines and work together to solve issues.
“We are a team. It’s not a party thing,” he said. “We focus on doing what is right for the people … we get things done on behalf of the community.”
Assistant Editor Chris Morris contributed to this story.