Carmel’s mayoral election is starting to take shape with campaign ads, endorsements and at least one debate scheduled with less than two months to go before voters head to the polls.
Republican Sue Finkam and Democrat Miles Nelson are running to replace longtime Mayor Jim Brainard, who has served as the city’s mayor since 1996. Also running is write-in candidate Darin Johnson, who’s name will not appear on election ballots.
The November election winner will take on leading the city that Brainard shaped into the future where it’s likely at least half of the Carmel City Council will include newly-elected officials.
Here is the latest on what’s going on in the Carmel mayor’s race.
Who has campaign ads?
Nelson’s campaign last week released a video of the first in a series of campaign ads about his plans for Carmel. The video features Nelson’s daughter, Olivia, and highlights priorities, such as protecting Carmel schools.
Cynthia Johnson, Nelson’s campaign manager, said in an email to IndyStar that the campaign made a five-figure buy for the first ad, which will run on digital and streaming platforms for the next two weeks.
Finkam’s campaign is also planning a campaign ad, which would be her second following ads for the Republican primary race in May. That 30-second ad was a five-figure buy across TV, streaming, social media and texts.
What endorsements have been made so far?
Several organizations have made endorsements in the mayor’s race following the May primary election.
As of mid-September, Finkam has been endorsed by the Carmel FOP Lodge 185, the Carmel Professional Firefighters, the MIBOR Realtors PAC and the PAC of ReCenter Indiana, an organization aiming to move state politics away from party extremes.
According to Nelson’s campaign, the candidate has been endorsed by the AFL-CIO, the Indiana/Kentucky/Ohio Regional Council of Carpenters and Indiana Conservation Voters.
Who has raised the most money?
That’s not exactly clear at this point. The next set of campaign finance documents must be filed with the Hamilton County Elections Office in October.
What do polls say?
In late June, Finkam’s campaign polled 400 likely Carmel general election voters, which shows her about 13 percentage points ahead of Nelson with 16% of likely voters undecided.
It’s nearly three months later, though, so it is possible those numbers might have moved.
Are there debates scheduled?
Yes. The Current in Carmel, a local news outlet, is holding a debate at 7 p.m. Oct. 2 at the Palladium. The event is free, but you need to register for a ticket.
When is the election?
The election is Nov. 7. In-person. Early voting begins Oct. 11.
Contact IndyStar’s state government and politics reporter Brittany Carloni at email@example.com or 317-779-4468. Follow her on Twitter/X @CarloniBrittany.