PRINCETON — Princeton voters have a choice of the most mayoral primary candidates, perhaps in city history, when they go to the polls May 7.
It's the largest field in at least 30 years, and potentially ever, according to locals, with seven candidates (three Democrats and four Republicans) seeking their party's mayoral nomination.
“I think the unprecedented number of candidates on the ballot shows the overall opinion of its citizens that there is a need for change in this community,” said local historian and Republican Princeton Common Council at-large member Greg Wright, shortly before he filed his petition of candidacy Friday morning to become the fourth mayoral candidate in Princeton's GOP primary.
Wright joins Republicans Mike Stilwell (sitting Gibson County Councilman) and Sherri Smith (sitting Gibson County Auditor) in the bid to deny Republican Brad Schmitt a second term as mayor of Princeton.
It's a three-way Democratic primary for mayor, among Bob Hurst, J.B. Brines and Dan Beard. Hurst is a former two-term mayor, Brines is a board of public works member and former council member and city employee. Beard is a county council member and former city employee.
“My time on the city council has taught me a lot about how city government works, especially the 'dos and don’ts'," Wright said. "I actually believe serving on the city council should be a prerequisite before serving as mayor…”
Wright, who is completing his first term as at-large councilman, said he's learned "a strong healthy relationship between the mayor and city council is an absolute necessity. I feel this can be achieved by communication and respect.
“My goal is to ensure the entire community is being heard and served. The common good of the entire city is of utmost importance. A city leader should never forget that, and should never govern with a self-serving attitude,” he said.
Wright, a local businessman, said he has dedicated his time and energy to preserving Princeton's history, personally restoring several landmark structures in the city. He also authored the book "Prince Town: A Pictorial History of Princeton, Indiana" in 2004.
He is a graduate of Princeton Community High School and Oakland City University. He and his wife Megan have four children.
Also joining the candidate field in the final hours of the filing period Friday for the May 7 municipal primary were three more contenders for Princeton Common Council seats.
James Price Jr. filed in the Democratic primary for the Princeton Common Council at-large seat, while Nick Burns filed in the GOP primary for the same seat.
Gibson County GOP Chairman C.T. Montgomery confirmed that a challenge has been filed regarding Burns' candidacy as a Republican. Montgomery said the Gibson County Election Board will review the challenge as to whether Burns can run as a Republican, in a hearing at a date to be determined.
Brandy Vincent filed in the Democratic primary for Princeton Common Council District 4.
The full list of candidate filings, by office:
• Princeton Mayor GOP primary — Michael Stilwell, Brad Schmitt (incumbent), Sherri Smith and Greg Wright
• Princeton Mayor Democratic primary — Robert J. Hurst, J.B. Brines and Dan Beard
• Princeton Clerk-Treasurer GOP primary — Mindy Brines (incumbent)
• Princeton Common Council District 1 Democratic primary — Jan Ballard (incumbent)
• Princeton Common Council District 2 GOP primary — William “Bill Tuley (incumbent)
• Princeton Common Council District 2 Democratic primary — James E. Wilkerson
• Princeton Common Council District 3 GOP primary — Dennis Gray
• Princeton Common Council District 3 Democratic primary — Jim Maglis
• Princeton Common Council District 4 Democratic primary — Sheri L. Greene (incumbent) and Brandy Vincent
• Princeton Common Council District 4 GOP primary — Roland K. Wagner
• Princeton Common Council At-Large Democratic primary — James Price Jr.
• Princeton Common Council At-Large GOP primary — Nicholas Burns
Oakland City primary
• Oakland City Mayor GOP primary — James Deffendall
• Oakland City Mayor Democratic primary — Gary Bise
• Oakland City Clerk-Treasurer Democratic primary — Susie Basham
• Oakland City Council District 1 GOP primary — Alfred “A.J.” Cooper
• Oakland City Council District 2 GOP primary — Michael R. McGregor
• Oakland City Council District 2 Democratic primary — Brenda A. Willis
• Oakland City Council District 3 GOP primary — George Armes
• Oakland City Council District 4 Democratic primary — Steven J. Uppencamp
• Oakland City Council District 4 GOP primary — Seth Woolsey
• Oakland City Council At-Large Democratic primary — Charles Cochran Sr.
Francisco (deadline to file Aug. 1)
• Jonnie K. Watkins, Democratic, Francisco Clerk-Treasurer
• Harold L. Everett, Democratic, and Steve “Digger” Krieg, Leo McDonald and Raymond E. Dunn, Republicans for Francisco Town Council at-large
Owensville (deadline to file Aug. 1)
• Tammy Patterson, Democratic, Owensville Clerk-Treasurer
• Matthew Sheridan, Republican, Owensville Town Council District 1
• Dwayne E. Matsel, Republican, Owensville Town Council District 2
• Gerald Moore and Phyllis Gene Mayberry, Republicans, Owensville Town Council District 3