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Fayette GOP opposes non-partisan races

A proposed bill that would allow non-partisan elections for candidates seeking county-level office is being opposed by the Fayette County Republican Party.

The bill would allow non-partisan elections for those seeking the countywide offices for sheriff, solicitor-general, district attorney, tax commissioner, clerk of superior court, coroner and county commissioner.

The non-partisan election would remove the current requirement for each candidate to claim a party when he or she qualifies for office. It also would eliminate the need for a primary election for countywide offices.

At the same time, the non-partisan election would erode a certain amount of power the Republican Party has in Fayette County.

Currently non-partisan races are the rule only for judicial or school board posts.

The county committee of the Fayette County Republican Party has approved a resolution opposing the changes, sending a copy to all Fayette County legislators and also House Speaker David Ralston.

Fayette County Republican Party Vice Chairman Paul Ploener noted several reasons in favor of keeping partisan races, including the fact that party affiliation “tells the voter how a candidate will perform while in office.”

A switch to non-partisan races would also have a significant fiscal effect on the Republican Party, which depends on qualifying fees for office holders for “much needed financial support,” Ploener added.

“We believe that party affiliation at all levels is important so we can hold all our elected officials to task when they stray from our core principles,” Ploener said.

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