The first day of candidate filings was a busy one in the clerk's office at the Knox County Court House as several declared their intentions to seek a city office.
A handful of members of the local Republican Party were first in line Wednesday morning to file their paperwork. Among them, Brian Grove, the owner of Diamond Tinting and Auto Glass Express, filed to seek a second term for his District 1 seat on the Vincennes City Council.
Ryan Lough, who ran unsuccessfully for an at-large seat on the council four years ago, will seek the District 5 seat currently held by fellow Republican Tim Salters.
Salters, instead, will run for one of the council's two at-large seats.
Lough is the director of operations at Perk-A-Lawn Gardens. He also served at the helm of the city's Tree Board in previous years and is a local pastor.
Ed Gornall, another member of the local Republican team, declared his intent Wednesday to seek the District 2 seat previously held by Democrat Jim Westfall.
Westfall died suddenly on Christmas Eve, and Democrats will caucus later this month to name someone to finish his term.
Gornall works for Stickersandmore.com in Washington — an Indiana Forms and Labels company — and is involved in a handful of local ministries as well as the Leadership Knox County program and the Knox County Chamber of Commerce, acting as one of its many ambassadors.
Another Republican, John Stangle, a retired city police officer, will seek the District 3 seat currently held by Democrat Scott Brown.
Stangle served the Vincennes Police Department for 34 years before retiring as a lieutenant. He is also a veteran of the U.S. Army National Guard. He now is a school bus driver with the Vincennes Community School Corp. and serves on the Vincennes Cemetery Board.
Brown did not file to seek re-election on Wednesday, although candidates can file through noon on Feb. 8.
Also filing Wednesday was Shane Lemler, a member of the local Libertarian Party, who also plans to seek the city council District 3 seat currently held by Brown.
Lemler, a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, serves as his party's community coordinator and has become a staple at city council, county council and county commissioners meetings in recent months.
A native of Marshall County, he moved to Vincennes in 2011. He is currently a student at Vincennes University studying business management.
In other races, Republican Cathy Lane, the former county assessor, declared her intent Wednesday to seek the city clerk-treasurer position, one now held by Sharon Meek.
Lane lost her bid for re-election, defeated in the Republican Party primary last year by Kelly Kopp Hopwood.
Lane served two terms as assessor and, before that, worked in the private sector as a real estate agent and property appraiser. She previously, too, worked in the local banking industry.
She is also owner of Lane Co. Properties and is active with Vincennes Catholic Schools and the Civitan Club.
Meek has said she will not seek re-election and plans to retire at the end of 2019.
Mayor Joe Yochum, a Democrat, filed to seek re-election on Wednesday — the only Vincennes Democrat to do so — and no one has signed on yet to challenge him. He ran unopposed four years ago.
Republican Party chairman Linda Painter said the party has no plans to declare a candidate for Vincennes mayor.
“We don't have anyone to run, and I don't really care about that,” she said. “Joe does a good job for the city.”
Also filing for re-election on Wednesday were Bicknell Mayor Thomas Estabrook, a Democrat, and Bicknell District 4 city councilman John Vendes, a Republican.
Painter was on hand with her slate of candidates as they filed Wednesday morning. Coming together to file, she said, gave the party “momentum” moving into this campaign season.
“And I think it shows how excited our candidates are, that they wanted to hit the ground running,” she said. “We have some great candidates lined up, some of the best we've ever had for city offices, I think.”
Painter said they are looking for a local Republican candidate to run in city council District 4, a seat currently held by Democrat Dan Ravellette.
Ravellette has not yet filed his intent to seek re-election.
Local elected officials four years ago — during the last municipal election in 2015 — actually cancelled the May primary as there were no contested races within the local parties.
It's possible that will happen again this year.
If there is a need for a primary election, however, it will be on May 7.
Early and absentee voting would begin on April 9.
Voter registration, too, is currently under way and will continue through April 8.
The General Election will be Nov. 5.
For more information about filing requirements and deadlines, contact county clerk David Shelton at 812-895-4927.