Monroe County Sheriff Brad Swain announces bid for Indiana House seat

Monroe County Sheriff Brad Swain plans to run for Indiana House District 62.

Swain, 62, said he would focus his candidacy on police education and solving some of the underlying issues that create law enforcement challenges for Indiana communities.

District 62 includes parts of Jackson County and all of Brown County and much of central and southern Monroe County — but very little of the city of Bloomington.

Previous: A Monroe County commissioner and a Jackson County council member plan Statehouse runs

Swain will face opposition in the Democratic Party primary, as Monroe County Commissioner Penny Githens already has declared her candidacy for the same Statehouse office.

The winner of the Democratic primary will face the Republican Party nominee in the fall. On the Republican side, Jackson County Council member Dave Hall has declared his candidacy.

The new Indiana House District 62 is seen in green. It includes parts of Monroe and Jackson counties and all of Brown County.
The new Indiana House District 62 is seen in green. It includes parts of Monroe and Jackson counties and all of Brown County.

Swain, Githens and Hall will try to succeed state Rep. Jeff Ellington, R-Bloomington, who holds the District 62 seat now but has moved to Bloomfield and plans to run in Indiana House District 45. The Republican-controlled state Legislature redrew the legislative districts in 2021, which made District 62 more competitive.

About Brad Swain

Swain told The Herald-Times he grew up in Monroe County, attended Monroe County Community School Corp. schools and, after high school worked jobs including as a custodian at the Von Lee movie theater and as a trash truck driver. At age 22, he attended the University of Vincennes, obtaining an associate degree in law enforcement.

He initially worked at the jail, became a patrol officer and through most of his career served as a detective specializing in crimes against women and children. Swain ran for sheriff in 2006 as a Republican, winning the primary but losing in the general election. In 2014, he was elected sheriff as a Democrat and won re-election in 2018.

Swain said during his 2014 campaign as a Republican, some Democrats who liked and respected him told him if he wanted to become sheriff in Monroe County he should think about switching parties. For the next few years, Swain said he got involved with the Democratic Party, helping other local candidates, before eventually launching another bid for the sheriff’s office.

Swain said he considers himself a centrist Democrat, who supports unions and people’s right to own firearms.

State law prohibits Swain from holding the sheriff’s office for a third term.

Why is Brad Swain running for District 62?

He told The Herald-Times he is running for the District 62 seat because he would like to continue to serve the public and because he believes his law enforcement background will enable him to exert influence on public policy, even though he would not be part of the likely Republican supermajority.

People generally have a lot of respect for sheriffs, Swain said, and when sheriffs from across the state get together, political affiliations play little to no role because law enforcement officials primarily have to solve problems that affect many parts of their communities, from jails to law enforcement reform to the lack of resources for people with mental health challenges.

“I think that I would have a lot more influence than someone without the background that I have,” Swain said.

Previous: Republican state Rep. Jeff Ellington moves west into another district

Swain and his wife, Amy, live on a cattle ranch they bought in southern Monroe County in 1992. Swain and his brother, Ed, also own a hardwood tree farm in Perry County that has been in the family for three generations.

In his spare time, the sheriff likes to stay physically active with martial arts and running marathons. He also is somewhat of a gear head, as he owns Triumph Thunderbird motorcycle, a 1970 Dodge Challenger and a 1931 Ford Model A.

Boris Ladwig is the city government reporter for The Herald-Times. Contact him at

This article originally appeared on The Herald-Times: Monroe County sheriff to run for statehouse in Indiana district 62