Jeff Raatz, who represents Wayne County in Indianapolis, now seeks to represent Indiana in Washington, D.C.

Raatz filed Friday to run for the U.S. House of Representatives for Indiana’s Sixth Congressional District, saying he is “deeply concerned about the future of our United States.” 

Incumbent Greg Pence, who began his first term in 2019, is not seeking reelection. 

Jeff Raatz

Raatz, a Richmond resident, will compete against at least three other Republicans in the primary. Darin Childress is a Wayne County resident, Mike Speedy is a state representative from Indianapolis and Jiddharth “Sid” Mahant, who works in the trucking industry, is from Greenwood.  

The winning Republican would face a Democratic opponent in November since at least one Democrat, Cynthia “Cinde” Wirth, has already filed to run. 

Pence defeated Wirth in 2022 with 67.5% of the vote. In 2020, Pence faced challenges from a Libertarian and a Democrat. 

Candidates’ filing deadline for county, state and national offices on the May primary ballot is noon Friday, Feb. 9. 

“Our nation is at a tipping point,” Raatz said in a news release. “If we do not dramatically change course in Washington D.C. — very quickly — the United States of America will no longer be the land of the free and the home of the brave. It’s a sobering thought, and something I think about on a daily basis.”

A small-business owner and licensed insurance agent, Raatz chairs Indiana Senate’s Committee on Education and Career Development. He’s also a member of the Senate’s Committee on Appropriations and School Funding Subcommittee. 

Raatz said he was compelled to first run for Indiana’s Senate in 2014 because he has “a servant’s heart” and “grew up believing in this country and the importance of giving back to our fellow Americans.” 

Raatz has faced criticism from educators, students and parents for his work to steer taxpayer dollars toward alternatives to the public school system, especially religiously oriented ones. At a Jan. 26 legislative forum at Indiana University East, he said he believes voters support “school choice.”

Raatz has also introduced or supported polarizing legislation including bills targeting libraries and librarians, censoring classroom discussions of race and racism, requiring reporting on students wrestling with their gender identity, and limiting local government control over certain kinds of services.

He was reelected in 2018 and 2022.

“Serving in the state Senate is truly an honor and a privilege, and I am grateful for the opportunity to give back and keep our state moving forward,” Raatz said. “I am proud to have played a role in Indiana’s many success stories: honestly balanced budgets, lower taxes, record funding for K-12 education, and educational choices for parents and students. Indiana is on the right track, but our nation is headed in the wrong direction. And I want to be part of the solution.” 

Raatz notes concerns with the nation’s economy, immigration, ideology, and law and order, saying “we need to solve today’s problems now to guarantee a brighter future for our families and our nation.” 

“We must get serious about fixing the economy,” Raatz said. “We’ve accomplished this in Indiana so I know it can be done. We must restore fiscal sanity in Washington, so our children and grandchildren have the opportunity to live the American dream.”

Raatz said the southern border must be closed to “stop the massive influx of illegal immigrants who are threatening our national security.” 

Another must, he believes, is to stop “the woke agenda that threatens to indoctrinate our children with liberal ideology.” 

“We must restore law and order by supporting law enforcement and first responders,” Raatz said. “We must uphold our cherished values of protecting the sanctity of human life and preserving our First and Second Amendment freedoms.”

Beyond his work in Indiana government, Raatz also notes serving on the boards of several local organizations including Indiana University East Advisory Board, Every Child Can Read and the Governor’s Workforce Cabinet.

Indiana’s 6th Congressional District is composed of all or portions of Bartholomew, Fayette, Hancock, Henry, Johnson, Marion, Rush, Shelby, Union and Wayne counties. 

Raatz’s colleague in state legislative affairs, House District 56 Rep. Brad Barrett, also filed for re-election in recent days.  

County treasurer

Wayne County now has two candidates for its treasurer. Republican Elizabeth “Beth” Fields has joined the treasurer’s race that includes Republican Douglas E. Glass. 

County treasurers must collect property tax dollars for nearly 40,000 parcels. Once the funds are collected, the treasurer invests them in certificates of deposits, money market accounts, etc., in local banks. Those investments make money for the county before they’re used. 

The treasurer also must work closely with the county’s auditor to distribute those funds to each entity depending on them, such as the county, cities and towns, townships and school districts.  

Property taxes fund services such as road maintenance, buildings, social services, law enforcement, county courts, parks and recreation and schools. 


A second candidate has filed for county coroner. Timothy Hubert Swift is now running against R. Brent Meadows. Both are Republicans. 

Kevin Fouche is currently serving as coroner. 

Other local offices shaping key aspects of county operations for years that are on the ballot this spring and fall include county council, two commissioner seats, clerk, surveyor and judge. One of Indiana’s U.S. Senate seats is open, too. 

May primary candidates for Wayne County voters

Here’s who has filed as of Friday afternoon Feb. 2: 

  • Wayne Superior Court 1 Judge: J. Clayton Miller, Ronald J. “Ron” Moore and Austin Shadle, all Republicans
  • County Commissioner District 2: Aaron Roberts (R) 
  • County Commissioner District 3: Jeff Plasterer (R)
  • Clerk of the Circuit Court: Tara Pegg (R) and Melanie L. Vaughn (R)
  • County coroner: R. Brent Meadows (R) and Timothy Hubert Swift (R)
  • County surveyor: Gordon E. Moore (R)
  • County treasurer: Elizabeth “Beth” Fields (R), Douglas E. Glass (R)
  • County council at-large: Gerald “Gary” Saunders, Max Smith, Cathy C. Williams, all Republicans
  • Republican state convention delegates: Debra Berry, Bob Bever, Jane Bumbalough, Jeff Cappa, Brad Dwenger, Tara Pegg, Stephen H. Rabe and Trent Reichley (District 1); Doug Williamson and Vicki L. Chasteen (District 2); and Beth Leisure, Jeff Plasterer, Barry Ritter, Gerald “Gary” Saunders, Brent Smith, Max Smith and Shannon Jo Smith (District 3)
  • Republican precinct committeepersons: Chris Beeson (Jefferson 1), Debra Berry (Wayne 23), Bob Bever (Boston 1), Jeff Cappa (Wayne 14), Beth Leisure (Washington 1), Myron P. Moyer (Harrison 1), Jeff Plasterer (Jefferson 3), Stephen H. Rabe (Wayne 24), Trent Reichley (Wayne 35), Barry Ritter (Jefferson 2), Janice L. Roberts (Center 2), Gary Saunders (Perry 1), George M. Sowers (Wayne 25) and Doug Williamson (Greene 1)
  • Indiana House District 56 State Representative: Bradford Barrett (R)
  • U.S. Representative (District 6): Cynthia “Cinde” Wirth (D); Darin Childress, Jiddharth “Sid” Mahant, Jeff Raatz and Mike Speedy, all Republicans
  • U.S. Senator: Valerie McCray (D) and Jim Banks (R)
  • Governor: Mike Braun, Suzanne Crouch, Eric Doden and Curtis Hill, all Republicans

Prospective candidates can visit the voter registration office in the courthouse, 301 E. Main St. in Richmond, or call 765-973-9304 for more information. The deadline is noon Friday, Feb. 9. 

Governor hopefuls coming to Henry County

At least five candidates for Indiana governor are planning to answer audience questions from 9-11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 17, at Knightstown Community High School, 8149 W. U.S. 40, Knightstown.

The 6th Congressional District’s Republican Gubernatorial Straw Poll is free and open to the public. Henry County Republican Club organizes the event. 

As of press time, Mike Braun, Suzanne Crouch, Eric Doden, Curtis Hill and Jamie Reitenour had confirmed attendance. Contact for more information. 

Share this:

A version of this article appeared in the February 7 2024 print edition of the Western Wayne News.

Millicent Martin Emery is a reporter and editor for the Western Wayne News.