Nine Dems running for South Bend mayor

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - Two is company, three’s a crowd and nine is the number of candidates who have filed to run for the Democratic mayoral nomination in South Bend.

The candidate filing deadline passed at noon Friday. Candidates have until noon Monday to remove their names from the ballot.

The first candidate to enter the race was Shane Inez, a 19-year-old cellphone store owner old looking to make a difference.

The last candidate to file was William Smith, a 32-year-old CEO of his own LLC called Investment Styles.

“To me, I see it as a positive sign that people, everyday folk, feel empowered, feel like they have a voice and feel like they want to communicate and connect in that way,” candidate Regina Preston-Williams said.

Preston-Williams is the only female in the fold and, along with Oliver Davis, she is one of two candidates who are giving up a seat on the city council to run for mayor.

“I've been a big part of organizing and working on making sure that city government is being more responsive to city residents, from even before the time I was on the city council, and I think that this is a natural progression,” Preston-Williams said.

Twenty-one-year-old Salvador Rodriguez is running to make the city safer and less violent.

Forty-seven-year-old Richard Wright is a DTSB ambassador who wants to continue the work of the current mayor.

Among the better known candidates are Lynn Coleman, a former aide to former Mayor Luecke; James Mueller, the city redevelopment director on leave; and Jason Critchlow, the former chairman of the St. Joseph County Democratic Party.

During the last comparable primary in 2011 when an incumbent mayor did not seek re-election, five candidates ran.

That year, newcomer Pete Buttigieg won more than 50 percent of the vote, although there is no requirement to do so.

Even in this year’s nine-person race, the candidate with the most votes wins.

In 2011, a total of 13,958 votes were cast in the Democratic mayoral race, meaning the mayor was chosen by about 13.6 percent of city residents.

It has been 55 years since a Republican was elected mayor of South Bend.

One candidate filed for the Republican mayoral nomination in South Bend. Sean Haas is a graduate of Indiana University South Bend and currently works as a teacher.