Indiana Democrat foregoes reelection in favor of county judge bid

Indiana state Rep. Ryan Hatfield, an Evansville Democrat, announced Thursday he will forgo reelection in the fall to instead run for a county judge position.

Hatfield, who has represented House District 77 in southern Indiana since 2016, said he is running for Vanderburgh County Circuit Court judge.

“Serving as Circuit Court Judge provides a unique opportunity to directly contribute to the fair and just resolution of legal matters that impact the lives of individuals and families in our community,” Hatfield said in a statement.


Hatfield serves as the ranking minority member of the Indiana House Judiciary and Employment, Labor and Pensions committees. Prior to his position in the General Assembly, Hatfield was a deputy prosecutor in Vanderburgh County.

“This decision to run for Judge is deeply personal for me, driven by a profound commitment to fostering a legal system in Vanderburgh County that reflects the values and needs of our community,” Hatfield said in his statement.

House Democratic Leader Phil GiaQuinta called Hatfield’s departure a “loss.”

“Since his election in 2016, Rep. Hatfield has used his extensive legal expertise to serve the people of Evansville and Hoosiers throughout the state,” GiaQuinta said in a statement.

Hatfield is the latest in a series of Indiana state lawmakers who have said they are not seeking reelection in 2024. Two Republican state representatives, Denny Zent and Randy Lyness, separately disclosed their intention to forgo reelection in December. In November, Republican state Rep. Bob Cherry, of Greenfield, announced his intention to retire after 25 years.

Carmel Republican Rep. Donna Schaibley said in October she will not seek reelection shortly after longtime lawmaker Rep. Jerry Torr, who also represents Carmel, announced his intention to retire after 28 years in the House.

In August, Republican state Sen. John Crane, of Avon, announced he will not seek reelection after the 2024 legislative session.

At least three other Republican lawmakers resigned this year. In September, state Sen. Jon Ford, of Terre Haute, said he would resign effective Oct. 16 from his western Indiana district. A Republican caucus chose Greg Goode, the state director for Republican U.S. Sen. Todd Young, to finish out the remainder of Ford’s term.

Republican Sen. Chip Perfect, of Lawrenceburg, resigned in late September from his southeastern Indiana seat. A caucus chose businessman Randy Maxwell to complete Perfect’s term.

In July, state Rep. Randy Frye, a Republican from Greensburg, resigned from his southeastern Indiana district due to health issues. Attorney J. Alex Zimmerman was chosen to complete Frye’s term.

After Republican state Sen. Jack Sandlin unexpectedly died in September, former Inspector General Cyndi Carrasco was sworn into the Senate in November to fill the Indianapolis seat.

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