Candidate for House District 59 ends campaign

His name still will be on the Republican primary ballot, but a local physician has suspended his campaign for District 59 state representative.

Dr. Benjamin C. Chastain announced he is no longer actively campaigning or pursuing the seat being vacated by the retiring Milo Smith. Chastain notified Bartholomew County Republican Party chairwoman Barb Hackman of his decision in a March 21 email.

“District 59 deserves someone who can devote his or her whole attention to the legislative session,” Chastain wrote. “As a full-time emergency physician with a young family, I believe that the time needed to be an effective legislator, dad and doctor would be too much.”

After talking with family and friends, Chastain said Monday that he concluded that combining fluctuating hospital shifts with a four-day-a week Statehouse commitment every winter would take too much time away from his children.

“I’ve got plenty of time in the future to run,” said Chastain, a 35-year-old father of a six-year-old son and three-year-old daughter.

His withdrawal from the race still leaves five Republicans and two Democrats actively campaigning to succeed Smith in the Indiana General Assembly.

The remaining GOP candidates are John D. Counceller, JoAnne Flohr, Ryan Lauer, Allen K. Smith II and Lew Wilson. Two Democrats, Mary Kohen and Dale Nowlin, are also vying for the seat.

Chastain submitted the candidacy paperwork Feb. 9, the final day for filing. The deadline for a candidate to withdraw and have his or her name removed from the ballot was Feb. 12.

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Mark Webber is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at or 812-379-5636.