LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Democratic Party Fairfield Township voters fired first-term Trustee Taletha Coles, making her a lame duck until January.
Raking in 696 votes, Democrat Monica Casanova won the race for trustee. She will face Republican April O’Brien in November for Fairfield Township trustee. O’Brien ran unopposed in Tuesday’s elections.
Tippecanoe County Clerk Julie Roush noted that all vote counts reported Tuesday night are not final and there are still provisional and military ballots to be counted.
Coles came in last among the three Democrat candidates for trustee, capturing only 133 votes. Rocky Hession received 338 votes.
“I hope to get in there, change the leadership and clean things up. Build trust among the community because we lost a lot of trust,” Casanova said, explaining that reports of Coles’ alleged mismanagement of the township finances motivated her to run.
The parties’ races for the Fairfield Township board were preset with only three Democrats and three Republicans running. That means that Democrats Arissa Beck, Susan Schechter and Perry Schnarr will square off in the fall against the GOP lineup of Jan Payne, Kelli Stump and Todd Wilkins (no relation to the J&C reporter).
Coles is one of two embattled trustees in the county generating unflattering headlines and spurring interest in the usually nominal township races.
Indiana State Police and the State Board of Accounts are investigating Coles’ use of township funds, and the controversial second trustee, Jennifer Teising formerly of Wabash Township, was convicted Jan. 5 of theft of township money.
Other than the Fairfield Township trustee race and the Republican Wabash Township Board races, there wasn’t much to see because many of the township Primary Election races were unchallenged until the November election.
Across the river in Wabash Township, which includes West Lafayette, Republican voters faced the challenge of whittling five hopeful township board candidates down to three.
Steve Kerkhove, Jeffery Stefancic and Angela M. Yost advance to the November elections, while Debra Felix and Marcus D. Slifer’s bid for the township board ended Tuesday.
Kerkhove, Stefancic and Yost will face Democrats Sam Haughey, Ian Pytlarz, David Tate in the fall election.
In this township, which includes Clarks Hill in southeastern Tippecanoe County, five Republicans bid for three spots on the fall election’s township board ticket, while Democrat Sunshine Brickett will be the sole Democratic candidate on the township’s ticket.
Larry M. Funk, Jordan Mellinger and Harold (Junior) Tull advance to the fall election, while Hal N. Graham and Joe Sturm lost.
GOP candidate M. Lynn Beck is the only person running for Lauramine Township trustee.
In this eastern Tippecanoe County township that includes Dayton, four Republicans board candidates squared off Tuesday for three open slots for November’s election.
Tammy Murray lost a spot on the November election by one vote as the tally stopped Tuesday night. Jerry D. Arvin, Jane A. Coleman and Perry J. Martin will be on the fall ballot.
GOP trustee candidate Pamela Crum will be unopposed in the fall unless Democrats slot a candidate or an independent files to run against her.
Northeastern Tippecanoe County’s Washington Township, including Buck Creek, saw four GOP township board candidates vying for three slots for November’s elections.
Tom Davidson, Nate Hoffman and Ben Petrie won their races, while Keven Riggenbach didn’t make the cut.
Washington Township Trustee Barbara Knochel ran unopposed for re-election.
In southern Lafayette, four GOP candidates vied for three slots for township board on the November ballot.
Incumbents George Buck, Andrea Moore and Aaron Slagel won. Political newcomer James Martin lost.
Trustee candidate Jim Slaven ran unopposed in the primary.
Unchallenged township races
In east-central Tippecanoe County, Perry Township Board and trustee races were locked in for November before Tuesday’s elections, unless the Democratic Party slates candidates or independent candidates step up to challenge.
Tuesday’s winners were Greg Brown, Joseph L. Daubenmier and Andrew Fischer for the township board and Frank Cederquest as trustee.
Democrats did not have any candidates file to run.
In the south-central portion of Tippecanoe County, Republican candidates went unchallenged in their ranks for Randolph Township board and trustee.
Board candidates in the fall will be Natalie Kanaby, William Kitterman and Dan Korty. Trustee candidate in November is Jeanne Benjamin.
Democrats did not have any candidates file to run.
In northwestern Tippecanoe County, Republican Shelby Township board candidates Stephen Lange, Donald Nesbitt and James A. VanScheper went unchallenged, and no Democrat candidates filed to run for the township board.
Shelby Township Trustee Jerry Rooze also ran unopposed.
Tippecanoe Township, which includes Battle Ground in northern Tippecanoe County, also saw three GOP board members — Jon Eads, Jim Fields, and Dan Haan — breeze through the primary unchallenged. Trustee Bill Jones, a Republican, also was unopposed.
In the Shadeland area, Union Township Board candidates Mary Grace Gish, Steve Plantenga, and Paul Sietsma won in unopposed races, as did trustee candidate Joe Ritchie. All are Republicans.
In western Tippecanoe County, Wayne Township board candidates Mark Christian, Phil Katter, and Teresa Luttrell sailed unopposed into the fall elections, as did trustee candidate Norman Hayman.
In southwestern Tippecanoe County, three GOP candidates for township board — Tami Greer, James Stafford and Christine Wise — breezed onto the November ballot, and trustee candidate Sharon Corwin also won a spot on the ballot
Reach Ron Wilkins at [email protected] Follow on Twitter: @RonWilkins2.