Hearing Friday on Espar candidacy

September 20, 2018

MICHIGAN CITY – Saturday is the statutory deadline for absentee ballots to be mailed in the state of Indiana, but those ballots haven’t even been printed yet in La Porte County.

And they won’t be as long Christina Espar’s spot on the ballot as the Republican candidate for La Porte County Prosecutor remains tied up in court.

Judge Michael Bergerson will conduct a hearing on the matter at 1:30 p.m. Friday in La Porte Superior Court 1 on all motions pending before him in the case.

La Porte County Democratic Chairman James E. Kimmel challenged Espar’s candidacy earlier this summer after, he alleges, she filed her candidacy paperwork after the state-mandated deadline.

Espar claims she has proof that she attempted to file on time.

Both sides argued their cases before the Indiana Election Commission on Aug. 24, resulting in a 2-2 vote split along party lines. The deadlock allowed Espar to remain on the ballot pending any further legal action taken by Kimmel.

The following week, Kimmel petitioned La Porte Superior Court 1 for injunctions to keep Espar off the ballot and to keep La Porte County Clerk Kathy Chroback from being allowed to print the ballots with Espar’s name on them.

Kimmel claims allowing Espar to remain on the ballot would result in “immediate and irreparable injury” to him and the La Porte County Democratic Party, voters and general public.

In response, Espar filed motions for dismissal, change of venue and change of judge.

Espar claims the litigation should have been filed in a Marion County court, as the agency that certified her candidacy is based in Indianapolis. She also asserts she cannot receive a fair hearing in La Porte County, where she is running on the Republican ticket but the case will be heard by a Democratic judge.

According to Espar’s motion, “… no judge in La Porte County should be faced with the appearance of preferring one candidate or political party over another.”

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