Because of Sen. Tom Wyss' decision to retire, the Indiana Senate District 15 seat has an open race that has drawn the real heavyweights of this Republican primary.
Seeking the GOP nomination are the sitting sheriff, Ken Fries; a current County Council member, Darren Vogt; a former City Council member, Liz Brown; and a very successful businessman, Jeffrey Snyder.
The good news for voters is that any of the four is equipped with experience and talent to do a superb job in the General Assembly. The bad news is that it makes choosing from among them the most difficult decision this primary. And they are all strong conservatives both fiscally and on social issues.
It comes down to a gut call about who would do the best in the Indiana Senate, and our gut tells us it's Vogt.
As a successful insurance agent who easily fits the part-time council job into the rest of his life, he has been the epitome of citizen-legislator. Low-key but effective, he has approached government service with common sense and an instinct for giving taxpayers value. He would take that same dedication to Indianapolis.
But as we said, the voters really can't lose. Fries would take a strong personality and fierce determination to the Legislature. Brown has both the legislative and fiscal experience required in the Senate (County Council is just a fiscal body). Snyder has the perspective of having had to deal with the General Assembly as a businessman.
It should be noted that none of the four would be exactly the kind of senator that Wyss was. He was dedicated to so many public safety issues, often even working to protect us against our own worst instincts and habits, that he was known as Sen. Safety. The current candidates are much more likely to let citizens make their own judgments. You may like that or not, but there it is.
Cox for District 85
At 31, Fort Wayne attorney Casey Cox is the fifth-youngest member of the Indiana House. And he has not served very long, having been elected in the Republican caucus to finish out the term of the late Phyllis Pond in District 85 only late last year.
But he is a most impressive candidate. He more than deserves to win a full term all his own. He has quickly mastered a range of complex issues and tackles them all with a sensible conservative perspective. His vision of the future is clear, his views on how the state should get there compelling. Even on issues we disagree with him, we can appreciate the thoughtfulness that brought him to his positions.
Also seeking the nomination are Ken Knoblauch and Denny Worman.