Ken de la Bastide: Ken de la Bastide column: Primary contest for city council seats is crucial

·2 min read

Apr. 29—The race for the Anderson mayoral nominations will attract a lot of attention, but the contests for the seats on the council are equally important.

For the past four years, there has been a contentious relationship between members of the council and the administration of Mayor Thomas Broderick Jr.

At times, there has been a decided lack of decorum and respect among the council members and with members of the public.

There is no question that members of the community have a right to be heard on any issues being considered by the council.

But allowing political agenda statements and topics not part of the role of the council when it comes to the city's business is unacceptable.

At least once, several members of the council walked out of the chambers during a meeting when there was verbal sparring between a member of the public and a council member.

Currently, the Democrats hold a 7-2 majority on the council, and they're likely to hold the majority next week.

In fact, there is speculation in local political circles that, following the November elections, there might only be one Republican on the council: Jennifer Culp.

No matter what takes place in the primary voting, new members will be serving at the start of 2024.

Republican Jon Bell is running for mayor, leaving the District 3 seat open.

Former councilman Greg Graham is unopposed for the Democratic Party nomination in the district and no Republican has filed. The party can name a candidate by July.

Democrat Rick Muir is not seeking re-election to an at-large seat.

That could open the way for a Republican to win at-large, something not done since Kato Smith served one time in the past.

Incumbent Democrats Rebecca Crumes and Ty Bibbs are seeking re-election to an at-large seat, and there are four other candidates vying for the third nomination.

Two incumbent Democrats, Joe Newman in the 6th District and Ollie H. Dixon in the 4th District, have primary challengers.

Both incumbents are expected to win the party nomination, with Newman getting a boost because there are three candidates in the race.

There are five Republicans seeking at-large nominations, but none of them have ever won an election.

Pete Bitar and Mark Turner have both lost bids for council positions in the past.

The turnout on Tuesday is being predicted at about 14%.

That's a disappointing number with the direction of the city for the next four years hanging in the balance.

Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 765-640-4863.