By CLINT FOSTER
Icy weather notwithstanding, filing for the 2014 primary elections officially concluded Monday at 6 p.m.
Two Democrats filed for local offices, but the bulk of candidates (17) are representatives from the Republican Party, 13 of which are incumbents.
Palo Pinto County Republican Party Chair Barbara Upham told the Index the Republican primary election was moved back to its original date in March after being held in April for the 2012 primary.
She said only three races will be contested during the upcoming primary: County Judge, County Clerk and District Clerk.
Candidates in these three races will have a ballot order draw on Monday, Dec. 16, at 10 a.m. in the Palo Pinto County Courthouse where Upham said they will essentially “draw names out of a hat” to determine the order the candidates are listed on the ballots.
Upham said the fact that only three of the 13 races will be contested may reflect a positive attitude toward incumbents within the county.
“I think the fact that a number of incumbents didn’t draw opponents may be an indication that everybody is pleased with the jobs they’re doing in their respective offices,” she said. “Of course, when there are contested races, that’s just more choices for the voters.”
Of the Democrats’ two candidates, only one will find himself in a contested race for a county seat after the primary elections are over, as Raymond Procter plans to run against incumbent Republican Jeff Fryer for Precinct 4 Commissioner.
It’s an interesting turn of events when considering just how deeply blue Palo Pinto County has been up until recent years – Sheriff Ira Mercer became the first ever Republican elected in Palo Pinto County in 2004.
Granted, two Democratic candidates are still more than the zero who filed for the 2012 primary election.
Democratic Party Chair Ida Nickerson told the Index a third candidate had planned on applying, but could not make the Monday deadline because of the severe weekend ice.