Local Republicans to get new leadership

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By Nathan L. McBroom

The local Republican Party will soon be under new leadership as the chair and vice chair are not seeking re-election at the party's upcoming county convention.

After serving as chairman for eight years, Charles Bates said the time has come for him to step down.

Bates, 66, said his decision not to run was in order to allow new people to step into leadership roles.

"I really hope we get a chairperson who is able to move the party forward," he said.

Bates, who served two years as county election commissioner before becoming chairman, said the county could benefit from new young leadership in the Republican Party. He said several people have expressed interest in the position.

Vice chairperson Linda Rucker also has opted to not run for re-election, he said.

Every presidential election year the local Republican Party holds an election for county party positions.

On Saturday, March 8, the election cycle will begin when the party will hold precinct caucuses at various locations around the county. All of the 33 precincts in the county will elect 3 precinct officers. Each precinct should elect a captain, a co-captain and a youth chairman who is between 18 to 35 years old. Precinct officers each serve a four-year term.

Bates said these officers are the primary party representatives in their precinct. They serve as the contact person for Republican candidates in local and state races and they are often responsible for putting out yard signs in the precinct.

Later in the year these officers are sent to locally organized precinct school where they are instructed in the details of their responsibilities.

On March 15 the party will meet at the county courthouse for a second chance to fill any vacant seats that remained from the previous precinct caucuses.

After the caucuses are over, the 99 newly elected precinct officers will then vote on the local Republican Party positions.

In total, the officers will vote in five party representatives that day.

Because Bates and Rucker are not running, a new chairman and vice chairman will be put in place that day.

By March 31 the party is required to have a full report on their elections turned into the state party.

Out of the 99 precinct officers, the party will appoint 27 delegates and 27 alternates to the district convention in Bowling Green in April.

Seven of the 27 district delegates will be selected to attend the state Republican Convention.

These delegates can help structure the convention and elect the state's chairperson, Bates said.

Also at the state convention, delegates are chosen to attend the Republican National Convention.

In 2000, a local delegate was appointed at the state convention to attend the Republican National Convention.

Bates said because of the financial burden of going to the convention, the local party helped pay for the trip.

The Shelby County Democratic Convention will take place in April.