The Crusader Newspaper Group

Primary election set for this Tuesday, June 2

Ragen Hatcher in a rematch for District 3 seat in U.S. House

The Crusader Staff Report

With the city reopening Gary voters will head to the polls this week on Tuesday, June 2, where they will decide on several important races involving candidates running for federal, state and local offices.

The election originally scheduled for May 5 was postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic. Gary’s 52 polling precincts will be open on election day. Voters are urged to wear face masks and practice social distancing.

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden became the party’s undisputed frontrunner for the party’s nomination after his rival, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders in April became the last opponent to drop out of the race. The names of Biden’s eight opponents are still on the ballot because they dropped out months after registering for the Indiana Primary.

Biden will face Republican incumbent Donald Trump in the General Election in November.

Frank Mrvan seeks to replace retiring Congressman Pete Visclosky as U.S. Representative in the First District. Visclosky has served 35 years in Congress. Mrvan faces a crowded field of 13 opponents that includes Gary residents John Henry Hall, Jayson Reeves, Sabrina Haake, and Melissa A, Borom. Visclosky has endorsed Mrvan to succeed him.

Frank Mvran
Pete Visclosky and Frank Mvran

“It is my honor to endorse Frank Mrvan to serve as Representative for Indiana’s First Congressional District. I will vote for Frank Mrvan and I encourage every voter to support Frank for U.S. Congress in the primary election.”

In a Crusader article this year, Visclosky said Mrvan has a proven track record that shows he has the character and the necessary skills to successfully represent all of Northwest Indiana in Congress.

“As the proud son of State Senator Frank and Jean Mrvan, his values of respect, integrity, and honesty were formed growing up in the Hessville neighborhood of Hammond.”

Hatcher Ragen web
Ragen Hatcher

In Indiana races, State Representative Ragen Hatcher will square off against challenger and Gary resident Jessica Renslow in a rematch of the 2018 election. Hatcher won that election by nearly 1,300 votes. The district includes Gary’s downtown and east side, Lake Station, New Chicago and parts of Hobart.

An attorney and former Gary councilwoman, Hatcher is the daughter of Richard Gordon Hatcher, Gary’s first Black mayor who died last December. Last year, Hatcher considered running for state Senator Eddie Melton’s seat after he launched his campaign for Indiana governor. Melton dropped out of the race and decided to seek reelection in his old seat.

Vernon G. Smith
Vernon G. Smith

Melton is running unopposed and will automatically win the Democratic nomination. State Representative Vernon G. Smith is also running without any challengers and will automatically win the Democratic nomination. There are no Republican challengers who will run against Melton and Smith in the General Election in November.

In Lake County races, East Chicago residents Perry Jackson, Jr. and Samuel Smith, Jr. are among four candidates who seek to replace outgoing Coroner Merrilee Frey, who cannot seek reelection because of term limits. She is running for Lake County Recorder. Her son, Clayton Frey, is running to succeed his mother as a candidate for Lake County Coroner.

In January, Frey was investigated after she was accused of using her work email to publicize her son’s entry for the Lake County Coroner’s race.

She posted a photo on social media of her son taking an oath at the county election board office. Frey also posted her opinion of why she believes her son is qualified to be elected coroner on her office’s “Coroner Alerts” [email protected] email network.

Frey said she sent the email from her personal cellphone that afternoon but accidentally sent it over her official email account instead of through her personal email account.

In the Lake County Recorder race, Frey will run against six challengers, which include Gary residents Glenn I. Johnson and John W. Johnson.

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