As primary voting opens in the state of Indiana, Rep. John Young (above), R-Franklin, faces three challengers on the Republican primary ballot in District 47, which includes the city of Franklin and Johnson and Shelby counties.
No Democratic primary candidates have filed to run in the Republican-leaning district, although party officials will have the option of adding a candidate to the general election ballot after the primary.
John Young, Republican
Young is up for reelection, having held the seat in the Indiana House of Representatives since 2016. He is also one of three attorneys in the Republican House. In terms of his beliefs and goals, Young has a vested interest in local education, Indiana’s state budget and taxation. He is also an advocate for local businesses and no required vaccine mandate.
As a legislator during the 2022 session, Young has authored and supported bills on probate matters, child services and COVID-19 vaccinations.
Luke Campbell, Republican
Shelbyville native Luke Campbell is a former Army and National Guard veteran as well as an evangelist, hospital chaplain and Sunday School teacher. He previously ran in the 2018 primary election, losing to Republican Sean Eberhart. He is a strong believer in ending vaccine mandates, encouraging educational reform and Second Amendment rights, as well as abolishing gerrymandering.
Robb Greene, Republican
Greene is a “conservative, pro-life” candidate of District 47. Hailing from Shelbyville, Greene’s website states that he is trying to return to a more local and centralized idea of government and society. The “Big Three”—government, tech and business—are all things he opposes. He is an anti-abortion advocate who is for fewer gun restrictions and more protection for families, he says.
Scott Strother, Republican
A political newcomer, Scott Strother is a former veteran as well as a firearms instructor in Bargersville. His concerns include the rise of crime in Indiana, accountability for school employees, and lengthening the legislative session to provide more time for reviewing and passing bills.
Strother faced a Class 6 felony in 2018 for criminal confinement after an incident with an undercover police officer in his neighborhood. Strother later filed a civilian complaint, and the charge against him has since been expunged.
“It is a sore subject, but it’s not why I ran. Somebody with common sense needs to run for office in Indiana,” Strother said. “I knew at the time things had to change.”
When it comes to the lack of Democratic primary candidates in this and other Republican-leaning districts, Paul Helmke, professor at Indiana University and former mayor of Fort Wayne, expressed concern.
“It’s a sign of our political dysfunction,” he said. “We’ve gotten to this stage in Indiana and a lot of states where districts are either so gerrymandered or ineffective, because of how people select where they live, that only one party basically has a chance of winning.”
“It means that the voters from the other party don’t really have a say in who represents them, and people who don’t identify with either party or independents don’t have a say in things either.”
Dr. Randall Smith, political science professor at Franklin College, believes this ballot is reflective of the reality of Indiana politics.
“Gerrymandering has eliminated inter-party competition in many areas of the state,” Smith said.
Ariana Lovitt is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.