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CARMEL, Ind — The mayoral race in Carmel, Indiana has been heating up with endorsements and allegations being thrown around in the lead up to the May 2 primary. Jim Brainard, who has held the position since 1996, has endorsed Kevin ‘Woody’ Rider as his successor.

Rider, a former member of Carmel’s Planning Commission and a successful entrepreneur, is competing against Sue Finkam and former Hamilton County Councilor Fred Glynn in the upcoming primary. The winner will face off against Democrat Miles Nelson in November.

Rider’s campaign was off to a strong start, with the candidate announcing his run before his competitors and raising all of his campaign funds ahead of them. He currently leads the pack with more than five times the monetary support of his closest competitor. However, his donations have faced criticism from Finkam, who accused him of threatening campaign donors with no city contracts if they don’t support his mayoral bid.

Rider has strongly denied these allegations, stating that he is focused on running a positive campaign and advancing Carmel’s economic development and quality of life opportunities. “I’m gonna stay positive. They can attack me all they want. I don’t wanna harm somebody else to get a job,” Rider told WIBC’s Kendall and Casey. He emphasized the importance of communication and transparency in his campaign, stating that he would be host presentations called “Carmel finance 101” to educate the community on his plans and ideas.

Rider’s goal is to create actionable outcomes that benefit the community, and he believes that building trust between residents, elected officials, and key community leaders is crucial to Carmel’s future success. He hopes his experience as a successful entrepreneur and his years on the Planning Commission will lead him to victory in the upcoming primary.

Democrat Miles Nelson is running unopposed in the Democratic primary, making the Republican primary on May 2 a significant event. Carmel’s residents will have the opportunity to choose the candidate they believe will lead their community towards a bright and prosperous future.