Crowded District 65 field features 6 candidates

Johnson County voters will have the chance to decide the best candidate to run for three state legislative seats, including one race with six choices, this spring.

Republican voters living within Indiana House District 65, which includes parts of southern Johnson County, will have six candidates to chose from during this year’s primary election — the most of any local state lawmaker race.

Voters also will be selecting candidates for the Indiana Senate District 36 seat, which represents parts of Marion and Johnson counties, and the District 47 House seat, which represents Johnson and Morgan counties.

In all three contested races, the legislator who currently has that seat is not running for re-election.

Six Republican candidates are trying to win their party’s nomination to replace Bedford Republican Eric Koch, who since 2002 has had the District 65 seat that represents parts of Jackson, Lawrence, Monroe and Johnson counties and all of Brown County.

Koch, an attorney, is running for the Republican nomination for the State Senate District 44 seat to replace Brent Steele, who is retiring at the end of the year.

The crowded field to replace Koch includes Mark Mathis, of Bedford, Darren Byrd, of Morgantown, Christopher D. May, of Bedford, and Jim Pfaff, Jacob Franklin and Franklin Andrew, all of Bloomington.

Two Democrats and two Republicans are also seeking their party’s nomination for the District 36 Senate seat.

State Sen. Brent Waltz, who has represented Johnson and Marion counties for 12 years, is not running for re-election. He is running in a contested race for the District 9 Congressional seat that represents Johnson County, and several other areas of southern Indiana.

Voters can choose between Democrats Sean Gorman and Jesse Kharbanda, both of Indianapolis, and Republicans Jack E. Sandlin and Jefferson Shreve, both of Indianapolis.

And voters will also be selecting a replacement for State Rep. John Price, for the District 47 seat, which represents sections of Morgan and Johnson counties. Price, who was formerly a Johnson County Council member and commissioner, chose not run for re-election because of a business opportunity that will include significant travel.

Voters will be choosing a nominee for the Republican party from Matt Prine, of Indianapolis, and John T. Young, of Franklin.

Whoever wins their party’s nomination will move onto the general election in the fall.

At a glance

Here is a look at contested races in this year’s primary election for legislative seats that represent Johnson County:

State Sen. District 36

Covers Marion and Johnson counties


Sean Gorman

Jesse Kharbanda


Jack E. Sandlin

Jefferson Shreve

State Rep. District 47

Covers Morgan and Johnson counties


Matt Prine

John T. Young

State Rep. District 65

Covers all of Brown County, most of Lawrence County and parts of Monroe, Jackson and Johnson counties


Franklin Andrew

Darren Byrd

Jacob Franklin

Mark Mathis

Christopher D. May

Jim Pfaff

Author photo
Aubrey Woods is editor of The (Seymour) Tribune. He can be reached at or 812-523-7051.