ANDERSON — Political observers in Madison County will be paying close attention to the results of the Republican Party primary as two factions battle for control of the party.
As of Thursday a total of 535 voters had cast ballots at the Madison County Government Center. Mary Retherford, Election Director for the Clerk’s office, said 1,903 absentee ballots have been mailed and 1,433 have been received.
Normally the contests for the nomination of sheriff candidates are the most hotly contested when an incumbent sheriff is not on the ballot. Incumbent Democrat Ron Richardson is prohibited from seeking a third term.
For the first time in almost four decades the Republican Party has slated candidates in the primary election. The slated candidates are running against a group of candidates with ties to former Madison County Councilman Mike Gaskill and the Madison County Tea Party organization.
The local Republican Party has endorsed the challengers to incumbent Treasurer Kelly Gaskill, incumbent David McCartney, seeking re-election to the District 1 seat on the Madison County Council, and incumbent Rick Gardner, running for a second term in District 4 on the county council.
Candidates endorsed by the Madison County Republican Party and their opponents are: Commissioner Steffanie Owens being challenged by John Smith; Treasurer Micah Mitchell against Gaskill; Clerk Darlene Likens challenged by Tim Nardoni; Recorder Linda Smith being challenged by Mike Miller; Council District 1, Tim Shepherd running against McCartney; Steve Sumner in District 2 against former councilman Mike Phipps; and Anthony Emery against incumbent Gardner.
GOP chairman Russ Willis said the potential voter turnout on Tuesday is hard to gauge.
“There are a lot of frustrated voters,” Willis said. “I hope people realize that local elections are important.”
Willis said the party is getting positive support for the slated candidates. He said people are appreciative that the party organization stepped up during this election cycle.