"It's OK to be a Republican!"
Much like the inspirational mantras written over a team's entrance to their sporting arena, so read the signs visitors walked past at the Trigg County Republicans convention Saturday, Jan. 7.
"We are in the process of taking over Trigg County," said Trigg County Republican Party Chairman J.D. Howell, sounding very much like a coach before the big game as he started the event.
More than 150 people, many on their feet, were on hand to hear from the first of a large slate of Republican candidates seeking Trigg County offices this year.
"Today we're going to offer you many options," Howell said, adding that additional candidates will be revealed in two weeks. Howell said he hoped to have a Republican run in each of the seven County Magistrate districts.
And there will indeed be options. At least two of the county magistrate districts will feature a Republican primary, and the stage may be set for a primary to select the Republican County Judge-Executive candidate.
"We've been told in the past that as long as they had a primary with two candidates, the county had a choice," Howell said after the main presentations. "But if [the] ideology of those two candidates are identical, you don't really have a choice."
Calling the upcoming election push historical, Howell said the unprecedented Republican effort would continue as the year progresses.
He said this "Republican thrust" is meant provide voters with candidates that will support "the conservative issues of our county."
Howell said Trigg County, heavily Democratic or not, is "a very conservative community," but "they're still affiliated with a party that has been taken over with that element of people (supporters of abortion and gay-marriage)."
As this year's election doesn't coincide with larger, national elections, Howell said the upcoming campaign would hinge on "local issues," not nationally divisive social or moral issues.
Howell said the party would emphasize their candidates' education and church affiliation. Indeed, of the slate unveiled Saturday, all belonged to Baptist churches.
The Republican coordination is to continue over the coming months, Howell said. All the candidates will receive training from Tom Jones — defeated by James Carr, then a Democrat, in the most recent State Representative campaign for District 8 — about the rules and procedures of the positions they are seeking.
He said there may also be a Fancy-Farm style debate for their primaries, and may be expanded to include Democratic candidates.
Also, once the primaries are completed, a unified party platform will be established for the campaigns.
For the rest of this story, please see this week's edition of The Cadiz Record.