Three Republicans to square off in May for mayor

COLUMBIA CITY — Voters in Columbia City will choose between three mayoral candidates in the Republican primary this May.Banker and current city council member Don Sexton, police officer and restaurant owner Gary Parrett and Ryan Daniel, who previously worked as the Northeast Community Liaison for the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA), are all seeking the Republican nomination from voters this spring.The winner of the Republican nomination will face Democrat businesswsoman Cathy Heritier in the fall general election with the winner becoming the next mayor of Columbia City.Current mayor Jim Fleck has opted not to seek re-election.The race for the Republican mayor’s nomination is the only contested race in the May primary.All city council seats are up for re-election, but with only one candidate from each party voters won’t have to make a choice until the fall. Seeking council seats this fall will be Republican incumbents Dan Weigold and Nicole Penrod, and Democrat incumbent Roger Seymoure. They will face challenges from Democrats Mike Malcolm and Christian Hockemeyer and Republican Ben Romine, respectively.The two vacant city council seats will have a contender from each party.In the council seat vacated by Sexton in his run for mayor, Republican Jacie Worrick and Democrat Chick Harker will challenge.In the seat vacated by Walt Crowder, who decided not to seek re-election, Republican Bill Simpson and Democrat Scott Allison are challengers.Friday was the deadline to file as a candidate for municipal seats. For the communities of Larwill, Churubusco and South Whitley, town conventions will be held if there are contested seats for the council. Candidates in those communities have until Aug. 1 to file, with any convention occurring after that.