Ken de la Bastide: Ken de la Bastide column: Turnout crucial in GOP primary

Apr. 27—Turnout in the May 7 Republican Party primary will be crucial in determining which candidates will appear on the November ballot.

Republican Party voters will be selecting candidates for two seats on the Madison County Board of Commissioners, the three at-large seats on the county council, auditor and surveyor.

There is one incumbent seeking re-election to the Board of Commissioners and one seeking another term on the county council.

The party is clearly divided into two factions.

One is the traditional party members and the second is a group of local residents looking to make wholesale changes in the operation of both county government and the party leadership structure.

It is generally expected that the faction seeking to make changes in county government will get its supporters to the polls.

There have been plenty of local comments on social media in opposition to the re-election bid of John Richwine for commissioner and the candidacies of Rick Gardner for commissioner and Todd Culp for auditor.

Gardner is being challenged by Devin Norrick and Culp by Katherine Callahan.

Norrick lost a bid for a seat on the county council in 2022 and his father, Scott, is serving as a judge and mother, Jodi, serves on the county council.

The traditional Republicans are hoping that the long-term party members go to the polls on May 7.

Depending on the outcome, the GOP faction could get a majority on the Board of Commissioners where only one incumbent is running and the possible control of the county council.

It could also be the first time that four women serve on the county council.

Currently, Diane Likens, Bethany Keller and Jodi Norrick serve on the council. If successful, Kristi Grabowski would be the fourth woman on the council.

At least through the remainder of the year, the traditional Republicans hold a 4-to-3 advantage on the council. But Anthony Emery and Ben Gale are not running for re-election.

The Republican Party holds every elective office currently in Madison County.

The general consensus is that the winners on May 7 will in all probability win in November.

An interesting side note to the local races is the fact that Republicans will be selecting a presidential, gubernatorial and Congressional candidate along with races for seats in the Indiana House.

The question becomes whether or not the traditional Republican Party members cast ballots in the hotly contested and expensive gubernatorial contest and the equally expensive Congressional race.

The get-out-the-vote effort could be the determining factor in the primary.

Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 765-640-4863.