KENDALLVILLE — A former prosecutor in LaGrange and Noble counties is forming a campaign committee and exploring a run for northeast Indiana’s District 13 senate seat in 2020.
Jeff Wible announced on Tuesday afternoon that he is taking the first steps to run for the senate seat, which would set up a primary challenge against incumbent Republican Sue Glick, R-LaGrange, in May next year.
District 13 covers all of Noble, LaGrange and Steuben counties and the westernmost four townships in DeKalb County, which includes Garrett and Corunna.
Although candidates can’t start filing to run until January, Wible was submitting paperwork on Tuesday to form a new campaign committee for the run for office.
Wible, of Wolcottville, is an attorney who previously served as the LaGrange County Prosecutor from September 2002 through 2014, then worked part-time as a deputy prosecutor in the Noble County Prosecutor’s Office from 2015 through May of this year.
In his announcement event at Kendallville City Hall, Wible said he thinks he’s at the right point in his life with the right mix of experience to make an impact for northeast Indiana and the greater state.
“I’ve talked to a number of people locally — and when I say locally I mean mostly LaGrange County and Noble County, I’ve got a lot of work to do in Steuben County and DeKalb County — and the reason why I’m talking to them is to see if I’m the right candidate at the right time. I really am very pleased with the amount of support I’m getting at this time, I realize it’s early, but I’m very happy with it,” Wible said.
“This is something that I’ve kind of thought about doing off and on for a few years,” he said. “I think I’m at the right age, the right amount of experience and have probably the right ideas at least for northeast Indiana.”
Wible is a 1980 East Noble High School graduate, then obtained a bachelor’s degree and law degree before going into practice. His wife, Jennifer, is an East Noble teacher of about 30 years, and he has two sons, Nathan and Nolan.
Wible said over the next few months he’ll continuing speaking with people in the district and get their thoughts about what they’d like state government to be doing for them, but he’s also highlighted a few issues he’d like to tackle.
First among those is taxes and whether Indiana’s rates are right to maximize output. Wible said he follows economists Stephen Moore and Art Laffer — two advisers who have counseled President Donald Trump on economic matters and co-authored the book “Trumponomics” — and have posited that lower state income tax rates create higher growth.
Wible said he’s also interested in public education policy with his wife being a public school teacher; that he’d like to investigate agricultural matters as farmers navigate the current economy in the midst of an ongoing trade war; and he has a pet-project interest in making sure the Public Employees Retirement Fund is adequate to cover retirement payments for public employees he’s worked around his entire career.
Wible said he thinks his views will align well with the attitudes of area residents and that he hopes to build support for a run next year.
“I think this is the right time for me. I’ve always been very interested in Republican politics and I think I’ve got something to add that’s going to be very consistent with the character of the people who live in northeast Indiana,” Wible said.
Entering the race would set up a primary challenge against Glick, who said Tuesday she intends to seek another four-year term in 2012.
Glick was appointed to the seat in 2010 to fill the vacancy created by Marlin Stutzman when he became a U.S. Representative. She then won elections in 2012 and 2016.
A 2020 primary contest would be the second Republican contest she’s faced in her career. In 2012, she defeated David Yarde 57-43 percent in the primary. She was unopposed in the 2016 primary.
Glick was unopposed in the 2012 general election and defeated Democrat Justin Kuhnle 75-25 percent in 2016.
“I have every intention of running for another term,” Glick said Tuesday. “I think (having a challenge) is healthy. Everybody likes a cake walk, but Jeff is a good guy and I hope we have a nice healthy debate and can talk about issues.”