Democrat party leaders in Southern Indiana are planning a first step to try and fill empty spots on the legislative ballot this fall. About one month ago State Representative Kreg Battles announced his resignation from the Indiana House and also announced that he was dropping out of the campaign for the District 45 seat that includes Steele Township in Daviess County. Now the party has set a pair of caucuses among precinct committeemen in the district for June 14 to fill both the vacancy in the house and the empty spot on the ballot.
The caucuses will begin at the Sullivan County Democrat Party Headquarters at 19 South Section St. in Sullivan at 10 a.m. Already two people have put their names up to fill Battles' position. Rick Marshall, a teacher and former coach in the North Knox School Corporation is one candidate. Former township trustee Bianca Gambill of Vigo County is also a candidate.
Both Marshall and Gambill have run campaigns for House seats in the past. In 2008 Marshall ran a close race against republican Bruce Borders for the District 45 seat. Gambill was defeated in 2010 after a bid to unseat State Representative Bob Heaton. The state legislature redrew the house districts after 2010 putting both Gambill and Marshall into the 45th District.
"These are both qualified candidates," said Knox County Democrat Party Chairman Sandy Stewart. "The house caucus wants to move forward and the state party wants to move forward on this seat. They really want to have someone in place before the Indiana House meets for its Technical Session on June 17."
Even though there are now two named candidates for the seat others can still throw their hat in the ring. The candidates have until 72 hours before the caucus starts to file.
The winner will face Bruce Borders in the fall. Borders, a Republican, represented District 45 until 2012 when he was defeated by Battles in a close race. Borders ran unopposed in the primary in his bid to return to the house.