Political season is heating up in Northwest Indiana. Today’s the first day candidates can sign up for May’s primary.
A long line formed outside the Voters Registration and Election Office for Lake County, Indiana in Crown Point. Several candidates, including the mayor of Gary, Rudy Clay, signed their names on filing documents. Not far behind was former Indiana Attorney General Karen Freeman Wilson, who is seeking to defeat Clay. Little known candidate Saba S. Mohammed entered the race on the Democratic ticket.
Before it’s all over, several other candidates are expected to join the field for Gary mayor, including Ragen Hatcher, the daughter for former Gary Mayor Richard Hatcher.
In neighboring East Chicago, Anthony Copeland will try to hold onto the mayor’s seat he was appointed to in October following the conviction of George Pabey in federal court on corruption charges. Copeland hopes to become the first African American to win election to the mayor’s seat in East Chicago, where the population of 30,000 is more than 50 percent Hispanic, with Mexican-Americans making up the majority.
So far, Copeland’s only challenger is East Chicago city councilman Rich Medina. If Medina pulls off an upset, he would become the city’s first Mexican-American mayor. But Medina’s close friendship to Pabey could be a disadvantage.
In Northwest Indiana’s second largest city, Hammond, incumbent Democratic Mayor Tom McDermott Jr. is expected to seek reelection, although he did not sign up today. He isn’t expected to have a strong Democratic challenger.
On the Republican side, three candidates have already signed on. They are Robert Pastore, Matthew M. Saliga and David Hacker.
The deadline to file is February 18th. The last day withdraw from a race is Feb. 21.