Republican newcomer Nolting claims coroner’s race

A Columbus police officer whose family has a long history of public service will be Bartholomew County’s next coroner.

Republican Clayton Nolting, 31, a descendant of two former Bartholomew County sheriffs, will succeed Larry Fisher, who decided against seeking re-election after working with the coroner’s office for 32 years.

Nolting defeated Democratic challenger Paula Rothrock in Tuesday’s general election, 20,031 (62.9 percent) to 11,815 (37.1 percent).

Nolting, who has been a deputy coroner for Fisher, said winning the coroner’s office was the culmination of everything he had worked for during the past 10 years, referring to his education and experience. He thanked his family and friends for their hard work in campaigning for him.

Rothrock, a Democrat who is a former Columbus police officer and a registered nurse, said she had been hopeful about the race and said Tuesday had been a great day.

“But any race in the county is going to be difficult — it’s such a Republican county,” she said while watching election results come in at the Democratic watch party at Hotel Indigo.

Rothrock, 57, was surrounded by supporters at the watch party and said it was a matter of trusting people to vote for the person and not the party when it comes to winning elections in Bartholomew County.

Both Nolting and Rothrock were seeking public office for the first time in this year’s primary and general elections, and they both made significant financial investments in doing so.

With year-to-date contributions of $11,533, Rothrock spent $6,975 from April 9 to Oct. 14. But Nolting, who earned 70 percent of the GOP primary vote in May in a contest with Ronald W. Shadley, was close behind with $10,241 in contributions and $4,522 in expenditures during the same period.

Since Nolting has served five years as Fisher’s chief deputy, Rothrock attempted to connect the two men in advocating for a separation of the coroner’s office from law enforcement “to provide unbiased death investigations,” she stated last month.

The coroner’s race represented the most in spending between two Bartholomew County candidates.

Nolting advocated for creating a multidiscipline advisory board that will advise the office on policy, as well as review significant cases. Nolting holds a master of science degree in forensic entomology and is a certified medicolegal death investigator.

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Bartholomew County Coroner

Clayton R. Nolting (R);9,428

Paula K. Rothrock (D);6,101