Primaries ought to be interesting in 2014
Monday, September 16, 2013 10:00 PM
Although May 6, primary election day, is still nearly eight months away, some of the races are starting to take shape.
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And oh what interesting races there might be.
One of the more interesting races will be for the county commissioner seat from District 2, currently occupied by Jim Fulwider. It appears certain Fulwider will run for re-election and will very likely have at least one challenger, GOP County Chair John Pickerill.
Another thing to watch this year will be the Democrats. Often times in Montgomery County, a traditional Republican powerhouse, the real election occurs in the primary and whoever emerges from the GOP is the odds on favorite to win in the fall. According to the Democrat Party Chair David Hadley, that might be changing.
"We think there will be some opportunities for Democrats in the fall," Hadley said. "In particular with the Tea Party take-over of the Republican Party and the radicalization they have gone through. The split, the Tea Party take-over, has made clear the divisions that exist (within the GOP). It's my understanding that the new chair and the people who put him in office are at odds with people in their party who are in office, people who think government does have a legitimate role in pursuing economic development, among other things. This new group seems to want to take them in a different direction, a backward direction."
Pickerill though, says the Democrats might want to hold off before counting their votes.
"If there's a split I certainly don't see old guard Republicans or Tea Party members voting Democrat," he said. "So I don't see that as being vulnerable. The only thing I see is that if you had some people running as Republicans in name only they might actually come out now as Democrats. That would be good for the party. I don't know if you want to call them infiltrators, but they would be showing their true colors."
Both Hadley and Pickerill agreed though that some races may draw in more people and that will be a positive outcome.
One race in which no one is predicting any drama is for sheriff. First-term office holder Mark Casteel has done an outstanding job, according to both parties. Casteel, a Republican, ran as an Independent. It speaks well of him that Hadley and Pickerill both gave him high praise. That doesn't mean Casteel won't have an opponent, but if he does someone will be facing a huge uphill battle.
Back to the commissioner seat, the only one of the three up for election this time, Pickerill would not confirm he's running. But he's been very visible at festivals and fish fry events. Another race that will likely draw some interest is the assessor office where current office holder Kelly Ewoldt went through a tough time in the spring of 2012. Hadley said the Democrats are taking a hard look at that office.
Superior Court Judge Dave Ault's term is up and there's talk that current City Councilwoman Heather Perkins Dennison might be interested.
The four county council seats that are coming open are from the four districts. In District 1, there is speculation that Dick Chastain won't run again. Brian Keim is in District 2, John Frey in District 3 and Howard Rippy in District 4.
There will be a change in the auditor's office because Michelle Cash can't run for that particular seat again. Cash, who has done a great job, said she's not sure what she plans on doing at this point. Several office holders and observers have encouraged her to consider another office. If she does, she probably wouldn't oppose Treasurer Janet Johnson who is likely running again. No word on the prosecutor's office where Joe Buser sits.
At the state level, Sen. Phil Boots and Rep. Tim Brown could face opposition, but it likely won't be from Montgomery County and both will be heavily favored if they do.
Overall and this far out, the field is wide open. Pickerill said he hopes more people will toss their hats in the ring.
"Anyone interested can contact me or contact David Hadley. Let us know what you're interested in, what (your points of views are) so we can help make sure you're in the right group. It costs zero dollars to file a candidacy form and the courthouse and that puts your name on the ballot."