According to the good folks at our courthouse and the Indiana Elections Division, tomorrow is the first day to file if someone intends to be a candidate from a major political party for public office. The primary is officially 117 days away.

It's also the first day an independent or minor party candidate can file a petition of nomination with the county voter registration office for certification of petition signatures.

And lastly, it's the first day someone can file a declaration of intent to be a write-in candidate at the general election for an office other than school board.

Or in other words, let the games begin.

As reported in this paper, there are several races that will be hotly contested. Few, if any, will be more interesting than the one county commissioner seat that is currently occupied by Republican Jim Fulwider.

Even though it's not official until the paperwork is filed, Republican Party Chair John Pickerill is going to run against Fulwider. Some say that the party chair should not take on one of his own. Others say the chair has a responsibility to put candidates in office that represent the party accordingly.

This is the absolute crux of the battle for the Republican Party, a dispute that is as bitter as any political divide in recent memory. The frontlines won't be at the commissioner or council level though. That will come in the precincts and whoever controls the precincts controls the party. On the Republican side, those offices were up in 2012 and won't be back up until 2016.

Several sources have told The Paper that the 27 precincts are fairly split on what side of the party split they are on. First off, there are 27 precinct committeemen and 27 vice committeemen, so 54 total votes. No one that I've talked to believes the "moderate" camp that Fulwider is from has a majority. Ditto the conservative camp of Pickerill. So which way the "party" votes in the primary is anyone's guess.

(For the record, the Democratics have 11 precinct committee seats on the slate this time.)

Talk starts turning into action tomorrow when voters find out who's really stepping up and tossing their hat in the proverbial ring. Locally, Todd Rokita will run for re-election to the U.S. House in District 4. Crawfordsville's Phil Boots will file for re-election to the state Senate in District 23. Ditto with Dr. Tim Brown in state House District 41.

At the county level, the assessor, prosecutor, sheriff, treasurer and auditor's offices are all up for grabs. So are four county council seats, Districts 1-4, each currently occupied by Republicans.

Filing goes until noon on Feb. 7. Even then though, all things may not be clear. For example, an independent will likely wait until after the primary before making their intentions known. Don't be surprised to see a former Democrat or two show up, as well as someone who is currently ID'd as a Republican. It won't be a surprise if the county commissioner seat ends up being a three-way race in the fall.

No doubt it's going to be a wild and wooly primary. We'll be watching with interest as speculation turns to reality. Either way, forget the temps outside because starting now the heat goes up a notch.