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Will 2019 be a historic city election year?

By DARREL RADFORD - dradford@thecouriertimes.com

New Castle Mayor Greg York says 2019 “is going to be the most exciting year New Castle’s had in a long, long time.”

It could also be an exciting year for him as well, as York bids to become just the third mayor in city history to win three successive terms of office.

The municipal election process begins today for not only the mayor’s office, but also city clerk-treasurer, all seven city council seats and city judge. Candidates may file from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Filing deadline is noon Friday, Feb. 8.

New Castle won’t be alone in the municipal election scene this year. A declaration of candidacy can also be filed for small town offices excluding Knightstown, Middletown and Spiceland, which had their elections last fall. Filing for small towns also begins today and runs through noon Aug. 1, 2019.

This year’s primary election will be held Tuesday, May 7.

For York, the decision to seek a third term was easy.

“I decided late last year that I was going to run again,” York said. “There’s two or three things I don’t have done yet that I was really wanting to get done. I hoped I could get it done in two terms but it didn’t work out so I’m definitely going to run again.

“I thoroughly enjoy this job,” York continued. “The city has done a lot for me, it’s been good for my family and I just feel like I owe this community something. I want to see it do well for a lot of years. I feel good about what I’ve accomplished so far. If I don’t get re-elected, I can have a party feeling good about what I’ve done. If I do get re-elected, I will be excited and feel good that we’ve still got some more things to accomplish. I’ll just leave it up to the people.”

York is hoping to join Gerald “Bud” Ayers (1980-1991) and Sherman Boles (1992-2005) as the only mayors to win three successive terms. Sidney Baker, the man for whom New Castle’s Baker Park is named after, holds the record for the most terms served as mayor with four. But those weren’t consecutive. Baker first served from 1930-1938 and later won two more single terms – 1943-1947 and 1956-1959.

History shows not only is three consecutive terms a rarity, but few have been able to win two.

New Castle’s first mayor, Judge Mark E. Forkner, served 10 years from 1901-1911. But after that, the next two-term mayor was Sid Baker from 1930-38. There would not be another two-term mayor after Baker until 1964, when Paul Osborne, for whom Osborne Park is named, served from 1964-1971.

Council seats 

All seven New Castle City Council seats are up for election this year. Current incumbents are:

• Mary Brewington, Ward 1, who has served since Jan. 1, 2016;

• Jeff Hancock, Ward 2, who has served since May 16, 2013, appointed to replace Brian Ingermann;

• Jerry Walden, Ward 3, who has served since Jan. 1, 2016;

• Aaron Dicken, Ward 4, who has served since Jan. 1, 2016;

• Mark Koger, Ward 5, who was appointed Nov. 8, 2008;

• At-large member Rex Peckinpaugh, who has served since Jan. 1, 2012; and 

• At-Large member Lynn Perdue, who has served since Jan. 1, 2012.

Clerk-treasurer, city court judge

New Castle voters will also be choosing a clerk-treasurer and city court judge. Incumbent Clerk-Treasurer Christy York and current City Court Judge Joe Lansinger have both served in their respective offices since Jan. 1, 2012.