Teresa Ayers was selected to fill the Carmel City Council’s vacant Central District seat at a Hamilton County Republican Party caucus held Jan. 10.
Ayers received five of nine votes, the minimum needed to secure the position. Leah York earned the other four votes. Jonathan Blake and Chuck Ford did not receive any votes. All four candidates have filed to run for the seat in the May primary election.
In Indiana, the Republican and Democratic parties use a caucus to fill most elected seats that become vacant between elections. At the caucus, precinct committeemen who represent the area with the vacancy cast ballots to select a replacement.
“The precinct committeemen represent the grassroots and are the core of the Republican Party,” Ayers said. “I appreciate the faith they have placed in me and will not let them down as a council member or as a candidate going into the primary.”
Ayers is vice-chairman of the Hamilton County Republican Party and is on the board of the Carmel Clay Republican Club. She graduated from Carmel High School and is a member of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Catholic Parish. She is a graduate of Virginia Intermont College, where she played soccer and ran track and cross country.
Ayers is the daughter of former Hamilton County Councilor Paul Ayers. Both are precinct committeemen in the Central District, and both cast votes in the caucus.
Mario Massillamany, chair of the Hamilton County Republican Party, said it’s not uncommon for precinct committeemen to vote for themselves when the opportunity arises.
“I would hope, if you’re running, you feel you’re the most qualified person and would vote for yourself,” he said, adding that Paul Ayers has been a precinct committeemen for approximately 40 years and that Teresa Ayers has served as one since turning 18.
Other precinct committeemen to vote in the caucus were Peg Durrer, Denise Moe, Tina Mangos, Virginia Kerr, Debbie Mikulla, Tim Hannon and Sue Maki.
After losing by a vote, York, a lifelong Carmel resident and owner of a nonprofit consulting firm, is eager to keep campaigning ahead of the primary election.
“I look forward to May 2, when all voters in the district get to choose their next council member,” York said.
The Central District seat became vacant after the death of Councilor Bruce Kimball on Dec. 30, who hadn’t attended a meeting in two years after suffering a stroke. Last year, the council considered removing him from his position, but the measure did not have enough votes to pass.