EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT)- Sure there’s still well more than a year and a midterm election separating Evansville voters from choosing Mayor Lloyd Winnecke’s successor, but that hasn’t kept the race to replace Winnecke from heating up.

On Wednesday, Republican Gabe Whitley became the second candidate to officially announce their intentions, following fellow Republican Cheryl Musgrave earlier in July.

Already, political analysts say this race could be unlike any Evansville has seen in recent memory. University of Southern Indiana assistant professor Matt Hanka says candidates may have to raise over $1 million if they want to win.

Key campaign issues are already coming into view, including redevelopment plans in downtown Evansville, where 420 Main used to stand, and a concerning rise in fentanyl overdoses. Evansville City Councilman Alex Burton (D-4th Ward) says voters are also concerned with the city’s infrastructure, housing, and crime, in addition to improving neighborhoods.

Vanderburgh County Sheriff Dave Wedding admits his office doesn’t necessarily work hand in hand with the mayor but he says whomever the voters choose will also need to take a look at ways to reduce crime, saying that no one ever comes to him asking to help.

Still, with the campaign still underway and several more candidates expected to join the fray- Burton says he’s looking forward to seeing how it plays out, adding he hopes the race doesn’t become too politically divisive between Republicans and Democrats.