LIMA — The campaign to succeed retiring Mayor David Berger comes down to four: Lima’s Chief of Staff Sharetta Smith, former city neighborhood specialist Autumn Swanson, chiropractor and business owner Joshua Hayes and gas and geologist Elizabeth Hardesty are headed to a run-off election on May 4, which will determine which two candidates will go head-to-head in November’s General Election.
Wednesday was the deadline for candidates to return signatures and petitions to qualify for the run-off election, which will be held in 90 days.
Here’s a look at the candidates, presented in alphabetical order:
Elizabeth Hardesty: The only registered Republican in the race, Hardesty works as a geologist in the oil and gas industry. She called for action on three main issues: keeping safety services fully funded and staffed, reviewing parks and recreation to help it complete projects and working with schools to help educate people for trades and jobs that are open in the region.
Joshua Hayes: Local chiropractor and business owner Hayes announced his campaign for mayor last July. Hayes, who described Lima’s “root problem” as divisiveness and separation, has focused his campaign on local sustainability and reducing drug use and violent crime through marijuana decriminalization, arts and culture initiatives and rebuilding the city’s housing stock.
Sharetta Smith: Lima’s chief of staff cited the city’s depreciating housing stock as one of her top concerns during her campaign kick-off in Faurot Park last November. Smith, a Lima native, was a central figure in establishing Lima’s new housing task force as well as other initiatives to upgrade the city’s technology infrastructure and establish opportunity zones in blighted neighborhoods.
Autumn Swanson: A former neighborhood specialist for the city of Lima who helped organize the city’s Community Block Patrol program, Swanson recently left her position to run for mayor. Swanson cited her desire to increase community engagement and establish a culture of collaboration in Lima as two of her primary goals.
Incumbent Lima City Council members Todd Gordon, Carla Thompson, Jamie Dixon and Jon Neeper have all filed for re-election and remain uncontested as of Wednesday’s filing deadline.