CROWN POINT — The 2018 race for Lake County sheriff got more crowded Monday with the addition of former Sheriff Roy Dominguez's wife.
Hardly anyone noticed as Betty Dominguez and her two daughters, Veronica and Maria, threaded their way through the politicians perched outside the Lake County elections board offices Monday as everyone waited for surprise candidates filing just before the noon deadline.
They got the thrill they were looking for when Lake County Elections Director Michelle Fajman posted Betty Dominguez's name to the board of candidates. "The race for sheriff just got interesting," Hammond City Councilman Anthony W. Higgs exclaimed.
She is the final Democrat running for top cop in Lake County. She joins: Lake County Clerk Michael A. Brown, Richard D. Ligon, Sheriff Oscar Martinez, David A. Dowling, Nate Hall, Maria D. Trajkovich and Wall M. DeRose.
Lake County police Officer Dan Bursac is the sole Republican in the race.
Roy Dominguez served as Lake County sheriff from 2003 to 2010 and was rumored to be interested in jumping into the fray himself.
Betty Dominguez said she wanted to dispel any thoughts her candidacy was simply a front for her husband's return to the Sheriff's Department.
"I don't make decisions based on someone telling me what to do. I've never done that. I'm not hiring Roy as my legal adviser nor my chief of police," she said. She said she has more than three decades of experience as a probation officer in county courts. "I've locked people up," she said.
Betty Dominguez said she worked in 2016 for Marissa McDermott's successful campaign to become Lake Circuit Court judge. "I knew Marissa would be her own person, and I'm going to be my own person," Betty Dominguez said.
She said she has more than three decades of work in law enforcement, including as a Lake Juvenile Court probation officer, an administrative assistant to the Indiana Department of Corrections commissioner and as chief probation officer in Lake Superior Court County Division before she retired in 2012.
The spring primary ballots in Lake and LaPorte County will feature a number of contests for politicians of both parties.
Candidates for Lake County clerk include: former Circuit Court Judge Lorenzo Arredondo, Josefina Magallanes and former Merrillville Town Councilman Andrew Sylwestrowicz.
Lake County Auditor John Petalas is being challenged by Carl "The Spoon" Weatherspoon Jr.
Lake County Treasurer Peggy Katona is being challenged by Greta E. Heard and David "Big Dave" Rodriguez.
Lake County Assessor Jerome A. Prince and Lake County Prosecutor Bernard A. Carter are running unopposed in the Democratic spring primary.
Lake County Councilman Jamal A. Washington is challenging County Commissioner Kyle Allen, D-Gary, in the Democratic primary. Republican Douglas M. "Doug" Wright is running unopposed in the GOP primary.
Lake County Council 1st District
Councilman David Hamm, D-Hammond, is being opposed by Darrell McCoy.
Lake County Council 2nd District
Councilwoman Elsie Franklin is opposed by: Jeremy M. Yancey, Calumet Township board member Clorius Lay, Dorothy "Dot" Spires and Catherine Campbell.
Lake County Council 3rd District
Democrats vying for the seat being vacated by Councilman Jamal Washington are: State rep. Charlie Brown, former Gary City Councilman Ronnier L. Scott, Leonard White, Melissa A. Borom and Jackie "Jacquese" White.
Lake County Council 4th District
Lake County Councilman Dan Dernulc, R-Highland, is opposed by Joseph W. Clark in the Republican primary. Barry Halgrimson is the sole Democrat in the race.
Lake County Council 5th District
Councilwoman Christine Cid, D-East Chicago, is opposed by: Deonte. T. Nance and Allan Simmon.
Lake County Council 6th District
Councilman Ted F. Bilski, D-Hobart, is running unopposed in the Democratic primary.
Lake County Council 7th District
Lake County Councilman Eldon Strong, R-Crown Point, is being challenged by Christian J. Jorgensen in the Republican primary.
1st District Council
Councilman Terry L. Garner is being challenged by Justin Kiel and Dan Van Schoyck in the Republican primary.
2nd District Council
Republicans Dennis Metheny and Jim Rice are vying in the GOP spring primary to face Councilman Randy Novak.
3rd Council District
Republican Christopher Jackson has filed to challenge Councilman Mark S. Yagelski.
4th Council District
Republican Michael Rosenbaum is challenging Councilman Cary Kirkham in the GOP primary. Democrat Steve Holifield would face the winner in the fall.