Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

November 8, 2012

Incumbent wins race as write-in candidate

Jeff Kellar missed this year’s filing deadline for Taylor School Board race.

By Lindsey Ziliak
Tribune staff writer

— Personal issues forced a Taylor Community Schools board member to seek re-election as a write-in candidate Tuesday, and he won with just 241 votes.

Jeff Kellar beat out two other write-in candidates who received a combined 120 votes.

“I’m looking forward to another four years,” he said.

He admitted, though, that it was kind of an unconventional race.

Only one woman filed for the District 2 seat originally, but she withdrew her candidacy before the filing date ended.

Kellar’s name was supposed to be on the ballot, too.

“The only reason I was not listed as a candidate for the board is that I missed the deadline to file,” he said. “The filing period changed this year, and I had a couple of personal issues going on during the filing period.”

His mother passed away in July, and he was switched to night shifts at work.

Kellar’s only other option was to submit his name as a write-in candidate. If he was the only one to do that, he could have won the race with a single vote.

He wasn’t alone, though.

Eric Vance and Otis Stockdell also submitted their names.

Stockdell, a science teacher in Kokomo-Center Schools, had no intentions of running for a spot on the school board this year.

When the woman who had filed to run for the seat withdrew her name, Stockdell said he thought it might be a good time to throw his hat in the ring.

He has been involved in Taylor schools for 15 years, and his kids went to school there.

“I felt like I needed to give something back,” he said.

Stockdell thought he was the only one who had submitted his name. He said he thought he was a shoo-in for the spot.

“I thought, ‘I’ve got a chance,’” he said with a laugh.

Stockdell said it was perfect for him because he didn’t really know how to run a political campaign.

He said he’s not a politician. He just wanted to help the kids.

“Obviously, I have some competition,” he said days before the election.

Still, Stockdell didn’t do much campaigning. He submitted a letter to the editor to the Kokomo Tribune to talk about his ideas. His only other strategy was to talk to people. He spoke to teachers, students and parents.

Stockdell received 73 votes. It wasn’t enough, though.

Kellar printed yard signs asking voters to write his name in for the District 2 seat. Those signs popped up in yards all around the town of Center.

Kellar said it’s difficult to campaign as a write-in candidate, even for an incumbent who people knew.

“It was more word of mouth,” he said. “Without my name being on the ballot, it was more important to get my name out there.”