Lake County Democrats vote on March 4

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Lavetta Sparks-Wade

A Democratic party-wide reorganization caucus has been set for March 4 at Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church in Merrillville. State Democratic party bylaws require reorganization every four years of the various local Democratic party organizations.

Former Sheriff John Buncich

Two candidates are seeking to replace Lake County Sheriff John Buncich as party chair. Buncich is not seeking a second term as chair following his indictment on federal corruption charges. Buncich was selected by caucus to fill the remaining two years of former chair Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott, Jr.

The candidates for the chairmanship are Lake County Commissioner Michael Repay, D-Hammond, and Attorney Jim Wieser, a long-time party member and former elected official.

Gary Councilwoman LaVetta Sparks-Wade is running for the vice chairmanship position against elections board director Michelle Fajman.

Lake County Commissioner Michael Repay

Lake County Treasurer Peggy Katona, current party vice chair, is being challenged by Tammi Davis as the two seek to become Treasurer.

Five candidates are running for Secretary including Lake County Councilwoman Christine Cid, D-East Chicago; County Treasurer John Petalas; Hobart City Councilman John Brezik; Griffith Precinct Committeeman Michael T. Ball; and Katharine Hadow of Crown Point.

In November, Buncich, former Sheriff’s Department Chief of Police Timothy Downs, and William Szarmach, of CSA Towing in Lake Station, were indicted for allegedly running an illegal towing scheme in which the sheriff accepted bribes in the form of thousands of dollars in cash and donations to his campaign fund, Buncich’s Boosters, according to court records.

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