Many of Clay County's incumbent candidates can breathe a little easier.
The deadline to file a certificate stating a major party vacancy on the General Election ballot had been filled came and went Tuesday, leaving many of the county races uncontested.
Of the two major political parties, only one took action to fill any of the vacancies.
The Republican Central Committee met June 28 at the Clay County Courthouse and approved a motion to authorize Chairman Sharon Koehler to fill the vacancies without the matter going to an official caucus.
"This is our way of streamlining the process by being able to get everyone together in a single meeting," Koehler told The Brazil Times recently. "It also cuts down on the amount of paperwork that needs to be filled out."
The ballot vacancies filled by Koehler were strictly in the township races. The spots on the ballot were filled with the following members of the Republican Party:
* Brazil Township Trustee -- Thomas J. (T.J.) Sneddon,
* Brazil Township Board -- Ersel E. "Buz" Burgess and Kenneth L. Crabb,
* Cass Township Board -- Marvin H. Strauch,
* Lewis Township Board -- Bryan L. Husband, Donald L. Kramer and Joe D. Wise,
* Washington Township Trustee -- DeAnna Steiner, and
* Washington Township Board -- Roberta A. Buell, Lucy I. Strauch and Debra A. Sebastian.
The selections leave a total of only four contested races on the General Election ballot for county and township positions.
On the county level, incumbent Republican B. Lee Reberger is up against Democrat Charles Hear, while the race for the Clay County Council, District 3 seat is between Republican Toni L. Carter and incumbent Democrat Dolores Johnson.
For township positions, the two races yet to be decided are for Brazil Township Trustee, between Sneddon and Democrat Vickie M. Lawhorn (who defeated incumbent Marcia Tozer in the Primary), and Sugar Ridge Township Board, where Republican John H. Nicoson and incumbent Democrats N. Rosella Parks, Donald L. Ream and Tommy Joe Zurcher are running for three open positions.
With no candidates on the ballot for Lewis Township Trustee, current officeholder Carolyn Mullens will maintain the position.
However, there are two races for township boards in which there are fewer candidates than open positions.
For Dick Johnson Township Board, incumbents John Dale Loughmiller and Daniel W. Barr are official candidates, leaving one open position to be filled.
Indiana Elections Division Co-General Counsel Dale Simmons told The Brazil Times that in this situation, according to Indiana Code 3-13-10-6.5, the county executive (in this case, the county commissioners) would have to determine the candidate to be held over, which would most likely be the other member of the current board.
The situation in the race for Cass Township Board is a little trickier. Incumbent Marvin Strauch and newcomer Rose E. Thompson would both be elected to the board as they are on the ballot and unopposed, but there is no certainty as to who will be the third member of the board.
"The county commissioners will have to determine, through a regular or special meeting, which of the remaining incumbent board members will be held over for another term," Simmons told The Brazil Times.
All other races are either unopposed or have the exact number of candidates needed to fill the positions, meaning they have essentially been elected to their respective positions before the General Election has taken place.
On the county level, these individuals include (all incumbents):
* Clay County Auditor -- Mary Jo Alumbaugh,
* Clay County Treasurer -- Debra S. James,
* Clay County Sheriff -- Michael W. Heaton,
* Clay County Assessor -- D. Mark Barnhart,
* Clay County Commissioner, District 3 -- Paul Sinders,
* Clay County Council, District 1 -- Rita E. Rothrock,
* Clay County Council, District 2 -- Steven J. Withers, and
* Clay County Council, District 4 -- Larry J. Moss.
Voter registration for the Nov. 2, 2010 General Election began on May 18 and runs through Monday, Oct. 4.