A number of races for Johnson County offices went uncontested in Tuesday’s general election.
These office-holders will play vital roles in Johnson County moving forward. Here are those winners, and a little bit about them.
Four district seats were uncontested for county council this year.
But already, one of the candidates elected will have to be replaced.
Republican Charlotte Sullivan is unopposed this fall in the race for Johnson County Council District 2, representing Franklin Township and southern Pleasant Township. She ran in the May primary, also unopposed, to fill the seat currently held by incumbent council member Rob Henderson, who did not seek reelection.
Sullivan moved to Florida sometime this summer, and did not notify the Johnson County Clerk’s Office or the county election board to remove her name from the ballot. Sullivan will have to resign after she would take office in January for the party to hold a caucus to fill the empty seat. A caucus can’t be held now because the seat is still occupied by Henderson.
In other district races, Republican Pamela J. Burton will represent District 1. She has served as the county auditor since 2015, having worked in the auditor’s office for 30 years prior. The Edinburgh resident won the Republican nomination for the district in the May primary, defeating Franklin businessman David Bleke.
The district includes all of Union, Hensley, Nineveh, Blue River, Needham and Clark townships, southern White River Township and southern Franklin Township.
Jon Myers, a Republican representing District 3, will start his second term after winning the uncontested election in 2018. He will represent part of Pleasant Township and all of Clark Township.
In District 4, Republican John Mallers will represent the northern part of White River Township on the council. He overwhelmingly won the primary in May, receiving 76% of the vote over his challenger. Previously, he had been named to the council by caucus in 2016, but lost a bid for a full term in 2020.
Republican Lance Hamner won against sitting prosecutor Joe Villanueva in one of the biggest races during May’s primary election. He previously served as Johnson County prosecutor from 1991 to 2008, before running for Johnson County Superior Court 3 judge.
When he announced his campaign, he said he was disappointed in how the prosecutor’s office has fared in recent years, and said its mission to fairly and effectively prosecute criminals was not being accomplished. The prosecutor’s office has lost an “unacceptably high” number of cases at trial, and is not communicating the way it should with local officers and victims’ families, Hamner claimed.
After winning the primary election, Hamner said he plans top reach out to other law enforcement partners to make sure the office hits the ground running when he took over in January.
Commissioner District 2
Republican Kevin Walls will continue to represent District 2 after going uncontested both in the primary and general elections.
He has already served two terms with the commissioners, after being elected to the office for the first time in 2014.
The seat on the three-member board of commissioners represents Union, Franklin and Needham townships. County commissioners oversee county employees and the day-to-day operations of the county. Commissioners are responsible for approving new county ordinances.
Duane Burgess, a Republican, was elected sheriff in 2018. He was uncontested in the general election that year, after defeating fellow Republicans Stoney Vann and Kirby Cochran in the May primary.
Prior to his election, he had been commander of the county jail, and made his expertise on that issue one of his core platforms when campaigning.
Under his leadership, the county embarked on a $23.1 million project to add 264 additional beds, a new intake area, an expanded medical center and more to the Johnson County Justice Center was first announced in 2019 and is designed to address frequent overcrowding issues the jail has had over the years.
Republican Trena McLaughlin has served as county clerk since 2018. She was uncontested in May’s primary election, and did not have a challenger Tuesday.
As clerk, she reviews, processes and stores all records from criminal and civil courts, oversees the voter registration departments and runs county elections. Prior to her election, she had served in the clerk’s office for 21 years.
After she was elected, McLaughlin’s primary focus was finding a way for the county to secure and fund new voting machines that are needed to replace current, outdated ones.
Elizabeth Ann Alvey, a Republican, is the new county auditor after being uncontested in both the May primary and the general election. She will take over from Burton.
The auditor is responsible for overseeing the collection and distribution of county taxes and estimating how much tax revenue the county expects to receive each year. Another key issue the office handles is property tax deductions that limit how much homeowners pay in their taxes.
Republican Teresa K. Petro will again serve as county recorder, after winning the office in 2018. Prior to that, she had served as deputy recorder.
The recorder is responsible for maintaining the county public records, mostly dealing with property and mortgages. One of Petro’s goals upon taking office was to continue to make the office more digital friendly.
Mike Watkins, a Republican, will take over as the county assessor, after going uncontested both in the primary and general elections. He’ll fill the office currently occupied by Mark Alexander.
The assessor is primarily concerned with the assessment of real and personal property, handling appeals regarding real estate and personal property and calculating the inheritance tax.