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In Texas, Republicans outnumber Democrats on primary ballots

FORT WORTH — A flurry of last-day filings for local elected offices will give voters plenty of contested races to consider in March, including primary challenges to some Republican incumbents who have gone unchallenged in recent elections.

Some of the newcomers on the Republican side are part of the Tea Party movement, while some are seeking ideological purity in the party and others are first-time candidates testing their political acumen.

"Some of them are people who have been involved in the party and feel a sense of urgency to step forward and do a different type of job," said Stephanie Klick, Tarrant County Republican Party chairwoman.

Whatever the reasons, many Tarrant County incumbents will face primary challenges and nearly a dozen will continue to fight opposing party challengers in November.

Of the 58 local seats up for grabs this year — from court positions to state representatives to county clerk — Republicans fielded 82 candidates while Democrats put up 20.

Tarrant County Democratic Chairman Steve Maxwell said the local party is looking toward the 2012 election as an opportunity for significant gains locally, except in judicial races.

"It's not disappointing that we fielded so few candidates because the majority of the races are judicial races," he said. "There are very few lawyers who relish the idea of running against an incumbent judge."

However, Maxwell added, "I am very disappointed we didn't get a candidate for Tarrant County commissioner Precinct 2, because I thought it was a very winnable race for us."

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