Indiana House Democratic leader to run for mayor of Fort Wayne following death of Tom Henry

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana Democratic House leader state Rep. Phil GiaQuinta intends to run for Fort Wayne mayor in an upcoming caucus to replace the city’s late mayor who died last week, an adviser to the lawmaker confirmed Wednesday.

Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry died March 28 after experiencing a medical emergency related to his stomach cancer. He was 72.

Adviser Kristen Self confirmed GiaQuinta’s intention to run for the mayoral seat, which he has not officially filed for.

Allen County Democratic Party Chair Derek Camp said three candidates had officially filed as of Wednesday morning, “but there are many others who are exploring.”

According to The Journal Gazette in Fort Wayne, city Councilwomen Michelle Chambers and Sharon Tucker have announced their intention to run, as well as Jorge Fernandez and Palermo Galindo.

Henry, a Democrat, was elected in November to his fifth term as mayor of Indiana’s second most populous city with about 270,000 residents. He announced his diagnosis of late-stage stomach cancer during a news conference Feb. 26 and had started chemotherapy at the beginning of March.

GiaQuinta, who represents House District 80, including parts of Fort Wayne in northeast Indiana, was first elected to the statehouse in 2006. The son of former state Rep Ben GiaQuinta has been the Democratic minority leader since 2018.

The Democratic caucus to select Henry’s successor is scheduled for April 20. If GiaQuinta or another elected official were to win the mayoral seat, a separate caucus would choose their replacement.

If GiaQuinta were to succeed in Fort Wayne, a new leader of the House Democratic caucus will be chosen for the first time since 2018. His office declined to comment on the possibility of the lawmaker leaving the statehouse.

Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.