No opposition for host of county-level offices in election

Running unopposed in their respective political races this year are (from left) Thomas Hakes, Brenda Hamilton, Philip Zahm, Shane Bickel, John Hacker and Jaime Miller. Photos provided.

A host of county-level offices in the Nov. 6 general election feature candidates with no opposition.
However, there are enough other contested offices on the ballot - including the office of president - that local election officials are urging voters to cast their ballots early and avoid the expected lines on Nov. 6.

Early voting takes place outside the county clerk's office on the second floor of the Huntington County Courthouse. Hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. now through Nov. 2; on Saturday, Nov. 3, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.; and the final day, Monday, Nov. 5, from 9 a.m. to noon.

Early voting at the courthouse is available to all registered voters in Huntington County.

Voters who are confined to their homes, who are caring for someone who is confined to the home or who are unable to mark the ballot on their own may request that the traveling board bring a ballot to their home. To make that request, call the Huntington County clerk's office at 358-4829 no later than Monday, Nov. 5, at noon.

Local candidates assured of victory include Thomas M. Hakes, for Circuit Court judge; Brenda Hamilton, county treasurer; Philip Zahm, for county coroner; and Shane Bickel, John E. Hacker and Jaime M. Miller, for the three at-large seats on Huntington County Council.

All are Republicans, and all except Miller are currently serving in those offices.

Incumbent council members Bickel and Hacker were joined by newcomer Miller in claiming victory in an eight-man race for at-large nominations during the May primary. Chris Hoke, who is completing his first term on the council, finished fourth in the primary and will not return.

Bickel is a captain with the Huntington Police Department. This will be his second term on the council.
Hacker is a full-time grain and livestock farmer. He has served on the county council since 2000, acting as president pro tem his first eight years and as president the past four years.

Miller is the flight department manager and a corporate pilot with Labov and Beyond Inc., in Fort Wayne.

Zahm was also involved in a primary race, defeating challenger Kevin Patrick. Zahm has served as county coroner since being appointed to the office in January of 2011, filling a vacancy created when the previous coroner, Leon Hurlburt, was elected as a Huntington County commissioner.

Hakes will begin his second full six-year term as circuit judge. He was unopposed in both the Republican primary and general election of 2006 and again in 2012. He has actually served as judge since June of 2006, when he was appointed full-time judge pro tem after his predecessor and former law partner, Mark McIntosh, left the bench because of illness.

Hamilton is completing her first term as Huntington County treasurer. She worked in the office for four years before being elected to the position.