BELTON — County Republicans gathered Thursday evening at the Bell County Courthouse to draw for their spot on the ballot in March’s primary election.

Candidates and party officials drew miniature billiard balls from a copper canister to determine the order they will appear; the lower the number on the ball, the higher your position on the ballot.

For instance, Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace Candidate Lou Griffin drew a ball marked with No. 14. His opponent, incumbent Ted Duffield drew No. 1.

Therefore, Duffield’s name will appear before Griffin on the ballot.

Nancy Boston, Republican Party of Bell County chairman, announced that the party will have 20 contested and 20 uncontested races on the ballot. Boston herself will face a challenge from Zenia Warren for the county chairman position.

“I think we have an excellent field of candidates,” Boston said. “I think they’re all very well qualified, and they stand for what the Republican Party stands for. The people have a choice, and that’s good.”

Duffield, who is seeking his seventh term, said the process of running for public office is something that everyone should experience.

“I always say everybody should run for office one time just to see what the process is. Everybody should at least exercise their right to vote,” Duffield said.

He said that having contested races brings out the best in candidates.

“Any contested race will always be a lot more interesting. It makes people work harder and helps them turn out the vote,” Duffield said.

The field of candidates ranges from political veterans such as Duffield to newcomers such as C.J. Grisham, who, along with Brandon Hall, is challenging incumbent state Rep. Hugh Shine for the District 55 seat.

Grisham agreed that the process is one more people should take part in.

“I’m learning on the go. It’s definitely an experience I think more people should at least take part in it so that they understand the process,” Grisham said. “It’s challenging; it’s a lot of hard work, and it takes a lot of dedication. Thankfully, I have a lot of people who are supporting me.”

Grisham said he’d never though about details such as how the ballot order is determined.

“It’s an interesting process. I never realized how they chose the order of the names on the ballots,” he said.

“So the biggest thing for me was learning how the process works.”

Boston also used the event to announce that the county Republican office will return to Belton next year.

The party moved its headquarters to Troy last year, but will now be located at 204 N. East St., suite E.

Boston said the reason for the move was to provide a more accessible location.

“It is centrally located here in the county seat. I’ve been looking for some time for a location and this just suits our needs,” Boston said.

“It will be more convenient for people to come by and pick up campaign material.”

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