Your Vote Counted, The Results Are In…
By: Greg Bird
With a moderate turnout for the 2014 General Election the voters of McCreary County expressed their choices as to who will lead the county over the next four years.
Incumbents in the countywide races like Judge Executive Doug Stephens and PVA Bruce Lominac won big, while Sheriff Gus Skinner suffered his first loss after two terms in office.
Only two other incumbents lost their bids for re-election Tuesday: District 4 Magistrate Frankie Ball and District 2 Board of Education member Larry Davis.
Voters apparently did not wish to see a write-in candidate make the cut, as none of the six candidates running in five separate races made an impact in the overall vote totals.
It was a big night for Republicans as well, as all races but one – Sheriff – were won by Republicans.
Other new faces who will assume leadership at the turn of the year include: Jailer Jessie Hatfield, Coroner Tim Corder, District 1 Magistrate Leroy “O.L.” Perry, District 4 Magistrate Duston Baird, and School Board member Rohonda Armijo. The winner of the District 1 Constable race, Dustin Ridner, will be sworn in by Judge Executive Stephens as soon as possible to fill the post, which was vacated by former Constable Jamie Higgenbotham’s untimely death.
Doug Stephens easily held off challengers Jimmy Waters and Wayne Phillips, claiming 2,434 votes in his bid for a second term, to Waters’ 1,482, and Phillips’ 890.
“I would like to thank the voters for their overwhelming support,” Stephens said Wednesday night. “We will continue to move forward.” Stephens also praised his opponents for running a clean race.
In a slightly closer contest Democrat Randy Waters pulled 2,736 votes to unseat Gus Skinner as Sheriff, who garnered only 2,291 votes. Write-in Danny Crabtree finished a distant third with 8 votes.
Waters edged Skinner by winning 14 of the 18 precincts reporting – providing enough margin to overcome the incumbent’s support in the other four.
After his victory Waters said he was looking forward to taking over the office.
“I am ready to be the next Sheriff of McCreary County,” he said. “I am ready to do what I said I would do. I will work hard on the drug problem in this county and do the job I was elected to do.”
Sheriff Gus Skinner, who twice defeated Waters in previous elections, said he had no regrets on his eight years as the primary law enforcement agency in the county, and thanked his staff for the work they had accomplished.
“I am proud of the job that I have done as Sheriff,” Skinner said. “I want to thank everyone who supported me, and the people who have worked with me over the past eight years to get that job done.”
In other countywide races, Jessie Hatfield cruised to victory in the Jailer’s race behind 3,182 votes, outpacing challengers Democrat Derek Jones (1,395) and write-in Jerry Privett (173).
PVA Bruce Lominac was re-elected to a third term with nearly 60 percent of the vote. Independent challenger Florence King placed a distant second, and Democrat Joni Carson finished third in the final tally.
Tim Corder, who defeated Coroner Daniel Ridener for the Republican nomination defeated Teddy Coffey nearly 2-1 to become the next McCreary County Coroner. Corder pulled 3,288 votes to Coffey’s 1,654.
County Attorney Conley Dale Chaney, who won his Primary over Austin Price in the spring and County Clerk Eric Haynes faced no opposition in the General Election. Haynes did set a mark of the highest vote-getter in the election, pulling in 4,477 of the 5,213 votes cast in McCreary County.
Starting on January 1, Judge Executive Stephens will have a new look Fiscal Court with two new Magistrates sitting on the court.
Leroy “O.L” Perry running against Democrat Pat Coffey in District 1, took in over 75 percent of the vote to win the seat on the Fiscal Court. Perry’s 968 votes easily outpaced Coffey’s 300. Perry defeated incumbent Magistrate Stan Cox in the May Primary.
District 4 incumbent Frankie Ball lost his bid for a second term to Republican challenger Duston Baird. Baird won with 727 votes, or over 61 percent of the total.
Magistrate Roger Phillips held off challenger Jonathan Coffey, taking home 64 percent of the vote to retain his seat in District 2.
In perhaps the closest vote of the evening, District 3 Magistrate Jason Mann edged out challenger David Murphy by only 160 votes. Mann won with 704 votes to Murphy’s 544.
Challenger for the McCreary County Board of Education’s 4th District seat Rhonda Meadows Armijo defeated incumbent Larry Davis by more than 140 votes, 356 to 214.
District 4 incumbent Brandon Kidd, who faced a late challenge by write in Tonya Neal, easily won re-election, pulling in 658 votes to Neals xx.
Three McCreary County Constables were re-elected to another term.
Freddie Clark in District 2 won with 962 votes to Joshua Strunk’s 289, Donald Daugherty held off Tim Dixon in District 3 760-490, and David Kilby knocked out Lewis Ball 853-333.
In District 1, Dustin Ridner, who replaced Primary winner Jamie Higgenbotham on the ballot, pulled 703 votes, defeating challenger Bill Hayes (204) and write ins Tim Higgenbotham (171) and Jeff Tucker (74).
Todd Martin (1,845 votes), Vernon Gilreath (1,838) and David Jones (1,687) were elected to the McCreary County Soil and Water Conservation District. Earl Kidd placed fourth with 1,548 votes.
In statewide races Senator Mitch McConnell and Congressman Hal Rogers won easily in McCreary County and in Kentucky overall.
Locally, McConnell pulled in 3,504 votes to challenger Allison Lundergan Grimes’ 1,270. Overall, McConnell won over 56 percent of the vote in the state to earn his sixth term in the U.S. Senate.
Rogers also won big locally and in his District overall. Rogers finished with 85 percent of the vote in McCreary County and over 78 percent in the 5th District to defeat Kenneth Stepp.
In the two Court of Appeals races on local Ballots, Debra Hembree Lambert, running for the 3rd Appellate District 1st Division defeated Michael Caperton, and James Lambert won against Paul Henderson for the 3rd Appellate District 2nd Division. Both local winners also won their statewide elections.
Max Wise, 16th District Senator, Ken Upchurch, Representative for the 52nd District, Circuit Court Judges Dan Ballou and Paul Winchester, and District Court Judges Cathy Prewitt and Fred White were unopposed in the General Election.
County Clerk Eric Haynes said the election went smoothly overall, with only two calls made to the State Elections Board, one concerning the length of time voters were allowed to cast their ballot, and another complaining about the ballot itself.