Dems caucus Saturday to fill county council seat

Five people are looking to fill the Second District Lake County Council seat left vacant after the unexpected Feb. 12 death of the late Councilman Clorius Lay.

Ronald Brewer, Carol Ann Seaton, Carl Weatherspoon Jr., Toya Smith and Norman Hairston filed to run in the Democratic caucus for the seat, according to Jim Wieser, chairman of the Lake County Democratic Party.

The caucus takes place Saturday at the Calumet Township Community Center, 1900 W. 41st Ave., in Gary. Doors open at 9 a.m. The successful candidate will receive 50% of the vote plus one. If there is no winner after the first round of voting, the top two voter-getters will run again until someone gets the majority.

The Second District includes portions of Gary, Calumet Township, Griffith and Highland, said Michelle Fajman, director of the Lake County Board of Elections. There are 51 precincts within the district.

Lay joined the Lake County Council in January 2023. Before joining, Lay served as an at-large councilman on the Gary Common Council, a position he held on two separate occasions. In the early 1990s, Lay served on Gary’s first elected school board. He also served four terms on the Calumet Township Board. A funeral for the councilman took place on Monday.

Brewer currently serves as an at-large councilman on the Gary Common Council, a position he has held since 2011. Seaton is a lifelong Democrat who is active in the local party. She unsuccessfully ran for Lake County Assessor in 2011 and has served as a precinct committee person.

Smith previously served a partial term on the Highland Town Council after being seated by caucus. Hairston is a business development consultant specializing in advanced materials at NEHi Consulting. Weatherspoon has previously run for both the Gary Common Council and Gary School Board.

A rumored bid for the seat by former 2nd District Councilman Albert “Al” Menchaca did not materialize. Lay defeated Menchaca in the general election to capture the seat Menchaca filled by caucus.

He has filed to run in May for the Democratic Party’s nomination for the Third District county commissioners seat, challenging incumbent Commissioner Michael Repay.