VINCENNES, Ind. -- A retired Army general is being blocked from entering a southern Indiana congressional race by a county Democratic official who said she isn't convinced of his party affiliation.
Maj. Gen. Rick Stevens retired in November after a 35-year military career. He said he planned on moving back to his hometown of Vincennes to seek the 8th District seat now held by Republican Larry Buschon.
Stevens needs the permission of Knox County Democratic chairwoman Sandi Stewart since he didn't vote in the most recent Indiana primary while on assignment in Washington.
Stevens told the Vincennes Sun-Commercial that he remained politically independent in the military, describing himself as a fiscal conservative who is progressive on social and environmental issues.
Stewart said that Stevens' voting record doesn't lean toward Democratic principles and beliefs. She said she won't sign off on someone who she doesn't think is a Democrat.
"The signature he's wanting me to sign off on is me saying he's a Democrat," Stewart said. "I'm not convinced of that."
But Stevens said that after his retirement he found his beliefs are more closely aligned with those of the Democratic Party.
Terre Haute attorney William Tanoos and 2016 candidate Ron Drake have filed for the Democratic nomination, which will be decided in the May primary.
Republican Rep. Trey Hollingsworth, who represents the neighboring 9th District, needed the permission of the Clark County GOP chairman to enter the party's 2016 primary because he only moved to Indiana in late 2015.
Information from: Vincennes Sun-Commercial, http://www.vincennes.com