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Upshur County Republican chairman defies party, sets own ballot drawing

By Christina Lane
Jan. 24, 2012 at 10 p.m.


Upshur County's Republican chairman said Tuesday that he - not the party's secretary - will conduct a drawing to determine candidates' places on the ballot. Ken Ambrose scheduled the drawing despite being instructed by an attorney hired by the state's Republican Party that he has no power to do so.

Secretary Madaline Barber has scheduled a ballot drawing for 6:30 p.m. Feb. 2 at the disabled veterans building on U.S. 271 in Gilmer, across from Walmart. Ambrose said Tuesday he will be conducting his own drawing, and it will be at the Republican Party's headquarters on Silver Alley in Gilmer. He has not determined a date and time.

Ambrose said the date and time will be set for the ballot drawing after the state settles affairs concerning the primary election date.

The state is responsible for supplying the county chairman with a list of state candidates and has until Feb. 2 to do so, Ambrose said.

Ambrose also does not recognize Barber as the party's secretary. She was elected by precinct chairs as the secretary, and the State Republican Executive Committee affirmed her position. However, Ambrose said Denice McDonald is the only duly-elected secretary of the Upshur County Republican Party.

Attorney Andy Taylor, who was retained by the state to oversee the upcoming Upshur County primary election, sent a letter to Ambrose, dated Jan. 19, in which he said a county's executive committee is the entity that conducts the ballot drawing for Republican candidates.

"(The Republican Party of Texas) has received reports that you intend to conduct your own ballot drawing at a time and place that conflicts with the executive committee's planned ballot drawing," Taylor wrote in the letter.

"Please refrain from doing so, as the law is clear that you do not possess that authority as county chairman. Instead, please cooperate with the executive committee so that there is one and only one ballot drawing for Republican candidates."

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