State Rep. Andy Thomas (center) beams as his father, Amos P. Thomas, gives a radio interview after winning the Republican nod for the District 44 seat in the Indiana House.
By ANDY MCCAMMON
State Rep. Andy Thomas looked on Wednesday as a caucus chose his father, Amos P. Thomas, as the Republican nominee for the District 44 seat in the Indiana House of Representatives.
Thirty of the district's 31 eligible precinct committee members convened at the Putnam County Courthouse Annex in Greencastle to select a candidate to challenge Parke County Democrat Richard Thompson in the Nov. 7 general election.
Five ballots and an hour-and-a-half later, they selected the 76-year-old Brazil attorney over five other candidates from Clay and Putnam counties.
"I want to thank you for voting for me, and I want to prove that you didn't make a mistake," Thomas said after his victory was announced. "We have a crusade here to keep this seat in (Republican control)."
He said he was pleasantly surprised to earn the nomination in his first bid for public office.
"I wasn't banking on it, because I thought it might be a long shot. I've waited many years for this opportunity," he said.
Andy Thomas said he is confident his father has what it takes to succeed him in the District 44 seat.
"He assisted my uncle John (Thomas, a long-time member of the Indiana House) for 24 years, and he's been my closest adviser for the past four years," he said. "He's ready to go."
Caucus participants voted five times before Thomas won a simple majority of the vote. His closest competitors were Kenneth Eitel of Greencastle and Darwyn Nelson of Cloverdale, the only other candidates to receive multiple votes on each successive ballot.
Murray Clark, chair of the state Republican party and host of the caucus, said multiple ballots are not uncommon. He was more impressed with the number of candidates that lined up for the nomination.
"It's unusual to have this many candidates," he said. "The Republican bench is deep around here."