FORT WAYNE – A Fort Wayne womans attempt to run for the Democratic nomination for Superintendent of Public Instruction is causing a stir.
Melissa Ann Hicks filed to seek the partys nomination at this weekends convention in Fort Wayne, going against party favorite Glenda Ritz.
Ritz, an Indianapolis teacher, has been endorsed by Democratic governor candidate John Gregg and the Indiana State Teachers Association.
Democratic State Party Chairman Dan Parker is challenging Hicks candidacy, expressing concerns about her party loyalty.
He sent a letter to members of the Democratic State Central Committee saying Hicks may be ineligible because of a lack of affiliation with the party.
Parker said Hicks voted in the 2011 Republican primary and ran for Fort Wayne City Council as a Republican in the same year.
But voter records show Hicks voted in the Democratic primary this year, as well as in 2007, 2006 and 2000.
And while Hicks explored a run for City Council – including filing campaign finance paperwork as a Republican – she was never on the ballot.
Meanwhile, it appears Ritz has some Republican voting history as well.
A blog report Thursday afternoon said she had voted in the 2012 Republican primary and virtually every GOP primary from 1990 to 2006. She did vote in the 2008 and 2010 Democratic primary.
The Journal Gazette contacted the Hamilton County Voter Registration office, which initially confirmed that report.
But after checking the poll book from this years primary election, the office said Ritz had voted Democratic and that the Republican posting was a computer error.
Parker said there are many reasons why someone would choose one partisan ballot over another in elections.
But, when someone declares partisan affiliation as a candidate for public office, it is generally assumed that the person considers himself or herself a member of that party.
We believe the fact that Ms. Hicks has filed on both sides of the aisle within a one-year time frame requires additional scrutiny, and the State Central Committee will make the final decision about whether she is eligible to be a candidate.
The State Central Committee will decide tonight whether Hicks will be allowed on the ballot.
Hicks did not return messages left seeking comment.