County Republicans plan for party primary

By Thomas Wilson
With the next county election less than one year away, Republicans are preparing to cement political gains they have in the state -- and beyond.
The Carter County Republican Party held an organizational workshop Monday night to discuss plans for the upcoming election season. Among subjects discussed, the party voted to hold a county primary to coincide with the Presidential Preference Primary set for Feb. 10, 2004.
"We are getting a lot of things done," said Jay Nidiffer, chairman of the Carter County GOP. Nidiffer also indicated local Republican office holders should get prepared for their campaigns.
The county primary would mean open Republican competition for assessor of property office and state representative for the 4th District.
"If I was a Republican and I was in office, I wouldn't miss another meeting," said Nidiffer. "We hope we can get every Republican and every individual, conservative-minded, in Carter County."
John Holsclaw resigned as assessor earlier this year. Gerald Holly was appointed interim assessor of property by the Carter County Commission in April. State Rep. Jerome Cochran won his first term of office last year.
County Administrator of Elections Tracy Harris spoke to the GOP about new state laws pertaining to elections and filing deadlines for the party. Harris said the newest statute required candidates running a write-in campaign to file a notice with the county Election Commission to have their names counted as legitimate office seekers. "That way, we don't have to count Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck," said Harris, referring to pranksters who submitted write-in votes for unqualified candidates.
Republicans discussed planning fundraising events later this year to get the campaign season moving. Local Republicans also weighed in on movie star Arnold Schwarzenegger and his intention to run for governor of California on the GOP ticket.
"It is really interesting to say the least," said Mike Sellers, party secretary. "Arnold has always been a strong conservative and appears to be a good Republican."
Schwarzenegger is among 195 candidates who have filed paperwork to be placed on the ballot in November, according to the California Secretary of State's office. The star of such films as "The Terminator" and "Total Recall" filed paperwork as a Republican candidate.
Nidiffer said he was adopting a wait-and-see attitude on the status of Schwarzenegger's bid for the California state house. "From what I see right now," he said, "he's a very popular candidate."