ANDERSON — Most incumbent Republicans in Madison County are facing primary election opposition from candidates aligned with the local tea party organization, the party chairman said Friday.
Filing for the May 6 primary closed Friday at the Madison County clerk’s office with the line of people extending outside the office and down the hall. A total of 75 people filed declarations of candidacy on Friday.
For the Republican Party there are contested primary nominations for every county office except for the two judge posts, prosecuting attorney and county assessor.
“This is not a surprise,” Russ Willis, chairman of the Republican Party, said. “There seems to be a group of people who have a different ideology and want to express themselves through the Republican Party. The primary is where that happens.”
Willis said the challengers to the GOP incumbents in office appear to align themselves with the local tea party organization.
It’s a battle the party has had in the past, he acknowledged.
“I was hoping we could avoid it,” he said. “We have a group of good incumbents that have been working for the people of the county.”
Willis said he didn’t know if the party organization would endorse candidates in the primary.
“We will look at all options as a party,” he said.
While Republicans have a plethora of contested races, voters in the Democratic Party will be determining nominees in four national and county offices.
Ludy Watkins, chairman of the Madison County Democratic Party, said she was pleased that the party was able to find candidates for most local offices.
"I was working on finding candidates for clerk, prosecutor and the two judge," she said. "It's hard to do."
Watkins said the only surprise on Friday was in the filing for the sheriff nomination by Jeff Hardin.