Nine mayoral candidates set to debate

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Staff Writer

The mayoral race in South Bend now has 10 candidates vying for the office. The first debate of the 2020 South Bend mayoral race will be hosted on campus, at the Louise E. Addicott and Yatish J. Joshi Performance Hall in Northside Hall on March 5. The event will last from 6 to 8 p.m.

The event is organized by political science professor Elizabeth Bennion, of the American Democracy Project (ADP) of IU South Bend and the League of Women Voters.

Only one Republican candidate, Sean Haas, filed before the deadline on Feb 8. Since the Democrats have a contested primary, the debate will only feature the nine Democratic candidates. Those candidates include Lynn Coleman, former Congressional candidate and assistant to former Mayor Steve Luecke; Jason Critchlow, Indiana University master’s graduate and former St. Joseph County Democratic Party Chair; Oliver Davis, vice president of South Bend Common Council and representative of the 6th District; James Mueller, director of the Department of Community Investment; Regina Williams-Preston, 2nd District representative for the South Bend Common Council; Will Smith, IU South Bend graduate and former member of Community Investment Committee; Shane Inez, 19-year old owner of a cell phone store and former member of the Army National Guard; Salvador Rodriguez, 21-year old manager of a Boost Mobile store, and Richard Wright, an IU South Bend graduate, an employee of Block By Block and sole proprietor of local airsoft gun retail company.

Some of the larger issues expected to be discussed are continuing economic investment and development, encouraging public and private partnerships, homelessness in the city, raising wages, reducing crime rates and government transparency.

Every candidate will be given 90-seconds at the beginning of the debate to make an opening statement. Question response times will vary from 30 to 60  seconds depending on the question, but all candidates will be given the same amount of time to respond.

“With that many candidates we want to get to as many issues as possible,” Bennion said.

Questions for the candidates can be submitted to The League of Women Voters website at

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