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Last updated on Friday, July 1, 2011
(UNDATED) - More than four months before election day, as many as a third of Indiana’s mayoral races may be over already.
A noon deadline Thursday for finding nominees to fill vacant ballot slots appears to have passed without any new candidates emerging in at least 44 cities where Republicans or Democrats failed to recruit someone to run.
A definitive list was unavailable, because vacancies are filled by county parties, not the state.
State officials were scrambling to find out if any of their local parties had slipped a nominee under the wire.
The list of mayors who appear unopposed for reelection includes the leaders of two of Indiana's largest cities, Carmel Republican Jim Brainard and Bloomington Democrat Mark Kruzan.
Democrats currently control city hall in 68 cities, while Republicans hold 48.
The GOP will apparently gain at least two.
Democrats didn't recruit a candidate to replace retiring Montpelier Mayor Jim McPherson, leaving Republican Kathy Bantz with an unobstructed path to the job.
And Frankfort Mayor Chris Pippenger, one of three independent mayors in Indiana, chose not to run again, leaving the job to Republican nominee Chris McBarnes.
Democrats did not recruit candidates in Greenfield or Greenwood, two heavily Republican cities whose mayors lost in the GOP primary.
But two of the libertarian party's nine mayoral candidates are running in those cities, and Greenwood features an independent candidate as well.
Democrats have five extra days to find a candidate in Valparaiso.
Their candidate there dropped out after the primary amid questions about his residency.
Even if no new candidate emerges, Republican Mayor Jon Costas will not be unopposed; former Republican Councilman Bob McCasland is running as an independent.
At least one race further down the ballot is likely to attract attention.
Indianapolis Republicans filled a vacant slot for a city-county council seat with Secretary of State Charlie White's Press Secretary, AJ Feeney-Ruiz.
His Democratic opponent, Vop Osili, who lost to White in last year's election.
Democrats this week lost an attempt to have white declared ineligible and install Osili as the winner.
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