ELECTION 2022: Incumbent clerk loses bid for reelection

After serving one term, incumbent Brown County Clerk Kathy Smith will leave office at the end of this year.

Smith lost her bid for re-election in the Republican primary race to challenger Pearletta Banks. Smith received 1,048 votes and Banks won with 1,337 votes.


While completing all of her clerk duties on Election Day, Smith said she was also focused on being able to remain in office, she said.

With not being reelected, Smith said she was sad.

“It was very disheartening,” she said.

She still had projects she wanted to see to completion in her office.

With eight months left until her term is up, she’s going to see what her timeline looks like in completing certain projects.

“If it’s (a project) that will need to be done through the transition (to Banks) I’ll have to consider what it is,” she said.

One of those projects is the preservation of court documents and records dating back to the 1920s by converting them to a digital format.

“That’s going to be a big, enduring project,” she said. “I want to make sure that it’s done. They’re irreplaceable.”

Smith said she was working behind the scenes ahead of the primary election, so she was not able to get out to knock on doors and make contact with voters like she was able to do in 2018.

In 2018, Smith defeated incumbent Clerk Brenda Woods by more than 400 votes.

“I appreciated the support in 2018 and I appreciated who supported me (this year),” she said.

In four years, Smith said she has helped fix issues in her office, including making corrections to the clerk’s filing system and getting those systems up to Indiana Code standards.

Smith said earlier this spring that “four years is not a lot of time to learn a job, hire and develop training for staff, establish and build standard operating procedures and processes.”

“There is much to learn within this position – from the circuit court clerk part of it to overseeing elections every two years. … No one knows it all, so my goal is to always be learning so I can grow and be even more effective as clerk,” she said.

Smith said her Chief Deputy Laura Wert and employees in her office worked hard these last four years. She hopes they can continue working in the office after her departure.

‘They can count on me’


Even after results came in, Banks said she still could not turn her brain off. Throughout the day on May 3, Banks said her stomach was in a knot.

But by Wednesday night, she was able to get some rest.

“Adrenaline has come back down and life is back to normal,” she said last week.

Banks said she received positive feedback at polling sites where she stopped throughout Election Day, she said.

Asking questions and getting advice from “seasoned” elected officials was something she prioritized as a first-time candidate.

She did not campaign door-to-door, but she did attend a lot of events and already had made connections with county citizens working in the Brown County Treasurer’s Office.

Banks said earlier this spring that the most important duties and responsibilities of the county clerk are maintaining the courts records and protecting the integrity of elections.

“If elected I plan to educate myself and my team, so that we may operate the office to the best of our ability to serve the people of Brown County,” she said in her response to a questionnaire from the League of Women Voters of Brown County.

Banks said in March she was seeking election to the clerk’s office because she believes the citizens of Brown County “deserve an elected official who is friendly, competent, knowledgeable, trustworthy and organized.”

Those qualities she named as requirements for the clerk are what Banks said she sees in herself.

“I would like to start this chapter with everything in place, perfect, ready to go. But I’m also a realist and realize that it will take time to build with my team and put things in place,” she said.

“I want the county to know if I’m elected in November, they can count on me. I will be there every day.”