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Local races open this week

BY Carolyn Muyskens - cmuyskens@chronicle-tribune.com

Candidates for local elected offices can begin filing for the 2019 municipal election this Wednesday, Jan. 9.

Election Deputy Nancy Bryant said to file for a race interested candidates can pick up forms at the county Election Office, located in the Grant County Courthouse.

The deadline to enter 2019 races is noon on Feb. 8, Bryant said.

The cities of Marion, Gas City and Jonesboro all have mayoral elections this year. So far in Marion, current mayor Jess Alumbaugh (D) and City Council member Steve Henderson (R) have both announced they will run for the office.

Marion's nine city council seats and Gas City's five city council seats are all up for election, as are the municipal judgeships for Marion City Court and Gas City Court.

In Jonesboro, all five council seats will also be up for election.

In Grant County's towns, elections are set for three of Fairmount's five at-large council seats, Van Buren's three at-large council seats, Swayzee's five at-large council seats, Sweetser's five at-large council seats and three out of Matthews' five at-large council seats.

Upland has one at-large seat and seats in council districts 1 and 2 up for election. Fowlerton has elections for all three of its town council seats.

Clerk and clerk-treasurer offices are up for election in all of Grant County's cities and towns.

Terry Stodghill, chair of the Grant County Democratic Party, encouraged first-time candidates who are members of the Democratic Party to contact him or any of the party's officers, both so that the party can provide candidates with support in the filing process and to let the party know who is running.

“Right now, the reason we're really trying to contact people is we have candidate training coming up the 12th of this month, and we are really trying to get especially first time candidates to go to this candidate training,” Stodghill said.

Grant County Republican Party Chairman Darren Reese said he also encourages interested people to contact him about running. 

"In general, I'd encourage anyone that has an appetite for helping to shape our public policy to get engaged. It's a great way to embrace your community," Reese said of running for office. 

Reese said once the party has established a slate of candidates they will get together to provide support to newcomers and "shepherd" them through the campaign process. 

Stodghill said the party is looking for potential candidates, especially for 2019's City Council races.

“We're talking to a few people right now, trying to get individuals to run, people we think can help the party as well as help the city,” Stodghill said.

Reese said he has "a couple of people" interested in the mayor's race in Marion as well as the Marion City Council races. 

The primary election this year falls on May 7 and election day will be Nov. 5.