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Tucker and GiaQuinta join Fernandez and Chambers in Dem caucus run for mayor

The logo of the Allen County Democratic Party
Allen County Democrats
Allen County Democratic Party
The logo of the Allen County Democratic Party

Updated April 4:
The Allen County Democratic Party’s mayoral caucus now has more local government veterans. Days after Mayor Tom Henry’s death, Allen County Council candidate Jorge Fernandez declared he will run in the caucus.

Soon thereafter, At Large Fort Wayne City Councilwoman Michelle Chambers announced her candidacy. Since then, Sixth District City Councilwoman Sharon Tucker and Indiana House Minority Leader Phil GiaQuinta announced their candidacies.

Chambers said she’s connected most with the Fort Wayne community because she got the most votes of any candidate outside of Henry in the 2023 municipal elections.

“We want to be able to continue the legacy, continue to move the city forward,” Chambers said. “We have to have an individual in place that the constituency knows already.”

As an at-large council member, Chambers represents the whole city on council as opposed to a specific district. She said that experience has had her thinking about a run like this for a while.

“I had planned on announcing in 2025 that I was going to run for mayor because it was going to take that long to get it out there,” Chambers said.

Tucker said she has the necessary experience working across the aisle.

“For five years on county council, I had great relationships with my Republican counterparts,” Tucker said. “For those five years, I had great relationships with the Commissioners.”

While Tucker represents the third district of Fort Wayne on the city council, she said she has spent her time on city council working for the betterment of all of Fort Wayne, not just that of the sixth district.

Both said they felt strange declaring their candidacies now before Henry has been laid to rest, but Indiana law requires the Allen County Democratic Party caucus in a new mayor no more than 30 days after the sitting mayor leaves office.

Jorge Fernandez released a statement declaring his candidacy. In it, he said the caucus process was “ridiculous,” and as a precinct committeeman, he would vote for himself.

Fernandez said he will “reconsider my county council at-large run” if he wins the caucus. In the meantime, he says he is “running for both.”

House Minority Leader Phil GiaQuinta could not be reached for comment. The caucus will be at 10:30 a.m. on April 20 at the Lincoln Financial Event Center at Parkview Field. Anyone seeking consideration by the caucus must file a form with the party at least 72 hours before the caucus, meaning those forms are due April 17 at 10:30 a.m.

The party will also host a town hall for the candidates to address the public on April 18.

Update on April 4: The Allen County Democratic Party confirmed Fort Wayne Director of Intergovernmental Affairs Stephanie Crandall announced her intention to run for mayor in the party caucus. Fort Wayne Community Liaison Palermo Galindo and Wayne Township Trustee Austin Knox have also announced their candidacies for Fort Wayne Mayor. They all joined Indiana House Minority Leader Phil GiaQuinta, Allen County Council Candidate Jorge Fernandez and Fort Wayne City Council Members Michelle Chambers and Sharon Tucker. As of this update, Chambers, Tucker, Fernandez and Galinda have filed the necessary paperwork for consideration in the caucus.

Tony Sandleben joined the WBOI News team in September of 2022.