Frankfort Mayor McBarnes Reverses Course, Will Seek Third Term

Nov 29, 2018

The mayor had long said two terms was his limit, but officially kicked off his 2019 bid for office Thursday night.
Credit courtesy City of Frankfort

Frankfort Mayor Chris McBarnes, who’d previously been vehement about his desire not to serve more than two terms in office, now says he’ll stand for re-election next year.

McBarnes was one of Indiana’s youngest mayors when he was first elected in 2011, shortly after he graduated college. For almost the entirety of his seven years in office, he’s said two terms was his limit.

But McBarnes held an official campaign kickoff Thursday night, and says as he looked at future career options, he felt out of place leaving government.

“Over the past six or seven months, I haven’t felt like myself," McBarnes says. "I feel like I’ve been a top spinning in the wind, trying to knock down doors that weren’t meant to be knocked down.”

McBarnes will face at least one challenger – Third District City Councilman and frequent mayoral critic Lewis Wheeler – in next year’s primary. Wheeler has railed against what he sees as unsustainable city spending and debt creation. McBarnes says he’s worried about what might become of ongoing economic development projects if a fiscal hawk like Wheeler is elected.

“I am terrified – terrified – that if that other ideology is elected, that my hometown will stay the same, will continue to become sleepy," McBarnes says. "That will dramaticize (sic) over the years to come and we will fade into the abyss.”

McBarnes easily won his 2015 re-election bid, garnering 90 percent of the vote in the Republican primary and 88 percent in the general election.