Thirty precinct committee members from District 44 elected the elder Thomas in a caucus Wednesday evening in Greencastle. Six candidates sought the spot on the ballot. Amos Thomas emerged as the choice by gaining the required majority of votes on the fifth vote. He totaled 18 votes to Putnam County businessman Ken Eitel’s 12 in the deciding tally, said Jerry Ensor, GOP county chairman for Putnam County. Jeremy Carver, Kathy Deer, Fritz Maurer and Darwyn Nelson also sought the candidacy. Precinct committee members voted after the candidates spoke for three minutes each.
Thomas will face Democrat Richard Thompson in the fall. District 44 is viewed as a Republican-leaning district, although a Democrat win is not out of the question. Thomas' win tonight is a loss for Christian right activists, who would have preferred Ken Eitel. Eitel nearly toppled Andy Thomas in the primary a couple of years ago.