February 11, 2022

Primary race for Marion County Clerk heats up

Doug Jaggers WFYI

Doug Jaggers WFYI

The primary race for the Democratic candidate for Marion County Clerk’s position is becoming competitive. There are now two candidates vying for the spot amid party division.

Last week following an online meeting, faith leaders joined Marion County Black elected officials and the Indiana Black Legislative Caucus in announcing that retired state lawmaker Billie Breaux would step into the race for Marion County Clerk.

Breaux said the move comes as part of a larger call for change in the party’s endorsement process.  She said it’s wrong for the current party chair, Kate Sweeney Bell, to also run for the clerk position.

“It is also totally wrong to the general public who vote and trust the Democratic party to put forth the best candidate they can to run for office.  Under this chair the people are given no choice,” Breaux said.

The meeting followed a press conference where some state legislators called for Sweeney Bell to step down from one of her roles.  Many of those leaders did not participate in the pre-convention slating process this past week in protest of the process.

In an email response, Sweeney Bell, who also currently serves as the Marion County Recorder said she has “seen firsthand how vital the clerk’s office is in fighting for equal access to the ballot for every voter.”

Breaux said there is also a conflict as the party chair can and has appointed precinct committee people who then in turn vote to endorse candidates, including Sweeney Bell.  She acknowledges that she has benefited from the process in the past.

“I support the endorsement of candidates, but it must be done fairly for inclusion, not exclusion,” Breaux said.

The Marion County Clerk is in charge of public records and county elections.

Sweeney Bell said voting protection is a priority,  “I feel it is critically important that we have a Clerk who will continue the hard work that current Clerk Myla Eldridge has done to improve our election administration,” she said.

The Republican candidate for clerk is Perry Township resident Andrew Harris.

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