Indiana judicial elections, 2012
|Judicial election dates|
|Find your state|
The Indiana judicial elections consisted of a primary on May 8th and a general election on November 6th.
Indiana judicial elections summary, 2012
|Judge||Incumbency||Retention vote||Retention Vote %|
|Judge||Incumbency||Retention vote||Retention Vote %|
|Candidate||Incumbency||Party||Primary Vote||Election Vote|
|Andre B. Gammage||No||Democratic||46%||49%|
|James N. Fox||No||Republican||100%||51%|
The Indiana Court Authority Amendment (2013) was a proposed legislatively-referred constitutional amendment which did not make the ballot. The measure sought to prohibit courts from issuing mandates the require the state or a political subdivision of the state to expend money for the operation of any court of the state.
In the News
Indiana election recap, 2012
November 11, 2012
Overall, the status quo was preserved in Indiana's 2012 judicial races, and the courts will remain much as they had before November 6th. In the Circuit Court races, two incumbents were defeated. They were the only incumbents in the state who were unsuccessful in their bids for re-election. One of the races, between challenger Benjamin A. Diener and incumbent Donald E. Currie, ended in the primary. Both Republicans, Currie and Diener competed against one another on May 8, and Diener was successful, receiving 66.8% of the vote. The other race in which an incumbent lost, between Democrat incumbent Frederick A. Schurger and Republican challenger Chad E. Kukelhan, was fought on November 6; the race was close, but Kukelhan obtained a clear victory, garnering 52.4% of the vote.
The appellate court justices in Indiana are chosen via a commission-selection, political appointment method of judicial selection. Justices serve ten year terms, and then face retention. In this year's elections, four Indiana Court of Appeals judges and two Indiana Supreme Court justices were facing retention, and all six justices were retained. While this in itself is not surprising, as no justice has ever failed to be retained in Indiana since this system was put into place in 1970, one justice did face stark opposition to his retention, and subsequently obtained the least votes for any retention this year.
Supreme Court justice Steven David faced opposition to his retention in response to his involvement in a controversial ruling on the right to resist police. In the finding, David and other justices on the court ruled that Indiana residents had no right to resist police entry to their homes, even if that entry was illegal. The strong response to the ruling and ensuing campaign against David's retention prompted him to create a campaign website, the first for a justice seeking retention in Indiana. Justice David was retained with 68.9% of the vote, while all other justices received between 71.4% and 73.8%.
There were four close races in the state, which are awaiting final official results. One such race is for the only Probate Court in the state, found in St. Joseph County, between Democrat Andre B. Gammage and Republican James N. Fox. The candidates competed to fill the seat left vacant by retiring justice Peter J. Nemeth. Two Circuit Court races were too close to call; one in Bloomginton, where no votes have officially been reported, and another in Delaware County between Republican incumbent Alan Wilson and challenging Democrat Kimberly S. Dowling. The race is currently tipped in Dowling's favor. The final close race is the Clay County Superior Court race between incumbent Democrat J. Blaine Akers and challenging Republican Robert Alex Pell; currently, the race is tipped in Akers favor. These races will be decided upon the release of official vote tallies from the Indiana Secretary of State's office.
Incumbent defeated in close Adams County race
As featured in JP Election Brief: Highlights of the 2012 judicial elections on November 15, 2012
In the race for the circuit court judge for Adams County, incumbent Frederick A. Schurger was defeated by challenger Chad E. Kukelhan. Schurger, a Democrat, was the only incumbent Democrat to be defeated by a Republican challenger in the state, despite Indiana's conservative bent. The race was close, with Schurger earning 47.6% of the vote to Kukelhan's 52.4%.
Schurger has served on the court since 1999, appointed after the retirement of Lorren Caffee. Prior to serving on the court, Schurgur worked in private practice, while Kukelhan worked in a variety of public and private positions, including as public defender in both Marion and Adams counties.
Indiana Supreme Court justice faces retention opposition
As featured in JP Election Brief: Attack ads and voter education on October 25, 2012.
Indiana Supreme Court justice Steven David, who is facing a retention election this November, has launched a campaign website urging his retention. David was appointed in 2010 by Governor Mitch Daniels, making this his first retention election as a Supreme Court justice.
David has faced a strong resistance to his retention since his involvement in a controversial ruling on the right to resist police. In the ruling, David and other justices found that residents had no right to resist police entry to their homes, even if that entry was illegal. The ruling resulted in the creation of legislation clarifying Indiana residents' rights, and has prompted strong opposition to David's retention.
No other Indiana judge facing retention has ever created a campaign website; were justice David to be removed, he would be the first in Indiana's history. The Indiana constitution was amended in 1970 to require periodical retention elections for appointed judges.
Indiana voters must have photo ID
As featured in JP Election Brief: Alabama dollars to Washington lawsuits (and more!) on October 4, 2012.
Early voting is underway in Indiana; absentee voting by mail began in mid-September and early in-person voting begins October 9. Absentee by-mail ballots must be received by October 29th to be counted in the November election.
Though many voter ID laws have faced scrutiny and been subsequently defeated during this election cycle, Indiana voters should note that Indiana does have such a law, enacted in 2005. The Indiana law was found constitutional by the Supreme Court in 2008, and requires voters to have photo identification in order to vote. Acceptable photo ID is defined as government issued identification; passports, driver's license, and other state-issued ID are acceptable. Identification must be shown at time of voting to vote in person. Indiana's law, among the strictest in the nation, has been cited by defenders of voter ID laws in other states during this election cycle, but to little effect.
Indiana incumbent hits the newspapers
As featured in JP Election Brief: Money and controversies on September 27, 2012.
Incumbent circuit court judge Frances "Francie" Hill was profiled in local media this week, an integral piece of her re-election campaign. She answered several questions in the Bloomington Herald Times, allowing her to reintroduce herself to voters before the general election. She will face challenger Alphonso "Al" Manns on November 6th.
In the election chat, a moderator guided the conversation while constituents asked a variety of questions, including: "Tell us about the CASA program and your part in it's establishment in Monroe County," and, "Sometimes it seems like people don't think Judges work very hard. Can you tell us how many cases you handle and what a typical day is like? Is your job really a full-time job?"
Judge Hill's responses to the questions put to her were generally a few sentences in length and focused heavily on her qualifications and accomplishments as a judge and community member. Neither Judge Hill nor her constituents ever mentioned her opponent by name. It remains to be seen if candidate Manns will be profiled in the Times; if not, it places him at a severe disadvantage, as the Times is the largest local newspaper in the voting area. Only the Indiana Daily Student, the newspaper of Indiana University-Bloomington, Indiana's largest state university with approximately 46,000 students, is comparable in size.
Indiana 2012 retention elections
As featured in JP Election Brief: 2012 Retention Elections on July 5, 2012.
Justices on the Court of Appeals and Supreme Court in the state of Indiana face retention every ten years after their initial appointment. The only other judges to face retention in the state are the superior court judges in Lake and St. Joseph counties. These judges face retention every six years. All other superior court judges in the state compete in partisan elections.
This year, the following Supreme Court and Court of Appeals justices are facing retention:
- Steven David, Supreme Court
- Robert Rucker, Supreme Court
- John Baker, Court of Appeals
- Paul Mathias, Court of Appeals
- Michael Barnes, Court of Appeals
- Nancy Vaidik, Court of Appeals
- Indiana Secretary of State, "Indiana Election Division"
- The Star Press, "Local attorney announces 2012 judicial campaign," May 26, 2011
- ↑ JR-0002 retrieved from General Assembly website on January 12, 2012
- ↑ Decatur Daily Democrat, "Kukelhan candidate for circuit court judge post," January 30, 2012
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 The Houston Chronicle, "Challenged Ind. justice launches campaign website," October 19, 2012
- ↑ Justice Steven David Campaign website, accessed October 24, 2012
- ↑ My Desert, "Election 2012: Early balloting joins strict ID laws among Indiana's top voting issues," September 29, 2012
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 Indiana Government Website, "Absentee Voting," accessed October 3, 2012
- ↑ The Chicago Tribune, "Analysis: How opponents held back the voter ID tide," October 2, 2012
- ↑ Washington Post, "High Court Upholds Indiana Law On Voter ID," April 29, 2008
- ↑ Indiana Secretary of State, "Photo ID Law," accessed October 3, 2012
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 10.2 [Bloomington Herald Times, "Monroe Circuit Judge, Seat 3 chat with Francie Hill: Civil court, mortgage foreclosures," September 25, 2012