The battle lines have been drawn for the May Republican Primary Election in Whitley County, which will feature nearly half the people on the ballot in local races as there were four years ago when the same offices were up for grabs.
Whitley County Clerk Kay Schwartz said that four years ago, there were 49 people on the ballot running for locally contested races in the May Primary Election compared to just 24 people running for local races, whose names will appear on the ballot this May.
This doesn’t include people running for statewide offices or non-partisan multicounty races.
Schwartz said that she can’t say this is the fewest number of people ever to file for office when most countywide races are on the ballot, but that it is among the fewest, who have ever filed.
As the filing deadline passed at 4 p.m. Tuesday, nine Whitley County officials were left unopposed in their bids for re-election, including: Whitley County Judge-Executive Pat White Jr., County Attorney Bob Hammons, Schwartz, Circuit Court Clerk Gary Barton, Property Valuation Administrator Ronnie Moses, First-District Constable Lonnie Foley, Second District Constable Ron “Bubba” Bowling, Division One District Judge Cathy E. Prewitt and Division Two District Judge Fred F. White.
Adam Sulfridge was the last candidate to file for office about 15 minutes before Tuesday’s deadline, and is seeking a position on the Williamsburg City Council. He will take on six incumbent council members, including: Laurel Jeffries West, Mary Ann Stanfill, Loren Connell, Patty Faulkner, Richard Foley and Erica Broome Harris during the November General Election with the top six vote getters winning election.
In what is shaping up to be one of the more interesting races, three people are running for sheriff in the May Primary, but it isn’t the same three, who were running last week.
Current Whitley County Sheriff’s Deputy Todd Shelley filed Monday seeking the sheriff’s position, which raised briefly the total number of candidates to four, including incumbent Sheriff Colan Harrell, Williamsburg Police Officer Mike Taylor and former jailer Ken Mobley.
On Tuesday afternoon, Mobley withdrew from the race leaving three candidates on the ballot compared to five candidates in 2014.
The jailer’s race, which saw 11 candidates four years ago, will feature only four candidates this year.
Incumbent Jailer Brian Lawson is seeking re-election and is facing opposition from Curtis Surgener, Brian Kirby and Stephen Taylor. Both Taylor and Kirby filed within the last week.
Whitley County Coroner Andy Croley, who faced opposition from T.J. Hamblin four years ago, is now facing opposition from Denver Bargo, who unsuccessfully ran for sheriff four years ago.
Incumbent 82nd District Rep. Regina Huff has filed to seek re-election and will be opposed in the Republican Primary Election by Matthew Anderson of Corbin.
The winner of that race will take on the only Democrat, who will appear in a local race on the Whitley County ballot this November, Stefanie J.E. Kingsley, a Corbin attorney.
Ronnie Bowling and Graham Trimble are set to square off in the 34th Judicial District Commonwealth’s Attorney race, which comprises Whitley and McCreary counties.
There are significantly fewer people running for magistrate positions than there were four years ago.
First-District Magistrate Scotty Harrison is facing opposition from Gary Brock. Four years ago Harrison was the challenger seeking to unseat incumbent Roger Wells.
Second-District Magistrate Lon “Chuck” Head is facing opposition from Edmondo O. “Mondo” Cima and James D. Blankenship. Four years ago, six people ran for that position.
Third-District Magistrate Michael Jarboe is facing opposition from Ted M. Barrineau and Matt Rose. Four years ago, eight people ran for that position.
Fourth-District Magistrate Robert “Robbie” Brown is facing opposition from Rod Carter Jr. and Raleigh Meadors. Four years ago, five people sought this position.
The Third-District Constable race, which featured four candidates four years ago, has only two this year with incumbent Dorman Patrick Jr. seeking re-election and being opposed by former third-district constable Jim Thornton, who unsuccessfully ran for sheriff four years ago.
The Fourth-District Constable race, which also had four candidates four years ago, has only two this go around with incumbent Andy Moses facing opposition from Wayne Carr.
The Corbin Mayor’s race now only features two candidates after incumbent Mayor Willard McBurney withdrew his candidacy last week for a fourth term in office. The race now features former city commissioner Suzie Razmus against Shannon Hall. Because there are only two candidates the non-partisan race won’t appear on the ballot until the November General Election.
Also, the Corbin City Commission race now features six candidates running for four seats. Incumbents Ed Tye, Andrew Pennington, David Grigsby Hart and Trent Knuckles face opposition from former city commissioner Freddie Bruce Hodge and political newcomer Brandon Shepherd.
The Williamsburg Mayor’s race won’t appear on the ballot until the November General Election either with incumbent Roddy Harrison facing opposition from Dr. Bernard C. Moses.
The only non-partisan race that will appear on the May Primary Election ballot is in the race for Third-District Justice of the Kentucky Supreme Court seat, which represents 27 counties.
Whitley County resident Dan Ballou is seeking the position along with David Tapp of Somerset and Debra Hembree Lambert of Burnside. The top two vote getters will go on to face one another in the November General Election.
In addition, U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers is running for re-election for his Fifth District U.S. House of Representatives seat and is facing opposition in the May Republican Primary from Gerardo Serrano of Tyner. The winner will take on the winner of the Democratic Primary in a race that includes Kenneth S. Stepp of Manchester and Scott Sykes of Elkhorn.
No county surveyor candidate
Whitley County Surveyor Bob Moses didn’t file seeking re-election, and no other candidates have filed for that position.
Schwartz said that a candidate could still file to run as a write-in candidate for the position this November, but they would have to be a certified land surveyor.
If no one files to run for the position, the Whitley County Judge-Executive can fill the seat by appointment until the next regularly scheduled election.
The county surveyor position doesn’t pay, but the office holder does get an office in the courthouse.