By Greg Bird
It has been a long, and some times controversial process, but on May 22 the first stage in deciding McCreary County’s future will be over. On that Tuesday McCreary Countians can go to their local polling places and cast their votes for the future leadership of the county.
All local offices are up for re-election this year and most will appear on the ballot, along with some regional, statewide and national races, giving the people an opportunity to reshape their leadership.
Every county position, except for three, has multiple candidates vying for their party’s nomination to appear on the ballot in the fall’s General Election. The majority of races this spring are heavily contested by Republicans, while only two Democrat races feature more than one hopeful office seeker.
Races for County Clerk, Circuit Clerk and Surveyor have no opposition and will not be on the Primary ballot.
Last week the field of Democrats apparently shrunk by one with the announcement of the withdrawal of a candidate.
Fourth District Magisterial candidate, Hope R. Daugherty, running as a Democrat, announced her plans to withdraw from the race, citing her desire to focus on advocacy and stating her ability to do so would be hindered while holding public office.
In a social media post Daugherty said her desire to affect change for citizens with disabilities and those living in poverty would be limited if she were to be elected.
“I cannot actively pursue a better system of care or Social Acceptance- If elected Magistrate,” she stated. “My voice and fight would be very limited. I will never silence my words to help bring change for the better.”
County Clerk Eric Haynes noted this week that Daugherty has not filed paperwork in his office officially withdrawing from the race. With no challengers in her Primary, Daugherty would not have appeared on the ballot this spring, but would be in the fall unless she files the official paperwork.
Daugherty’s announcement leaves only nine Democrats in the race, with four facing each other in the May Primary- Sheriff Randy Waters and challenger Roy Lynch and District 3 Magisterial candidates David Price and Rodney Heath. Winners in those races will appear on the ballots in the fall against the Republican Primary winners.
Democrats running unopposed in the Primary include: Derek Jones (Jailer), Joni Carson (PVA), Lillian Frasure Taylor (Magistrate District 1), Chuck Duncan (Constable District 1) and Steven Cox (Constable District 2).
Previously, Tyler Watkins, a candidate for Constable in District 2, announced his withdrawal after accepting a job offer in Pulaski County. Butler Waters, Independent candidate for Magistrate in District 2 has also taken his name out of consideration, though he would not appear on the ballot until the fall.
Three other Independent candidates have registered for office, Scottie Morrow (Judge Executive), Tony Hansford (Jailer) and Johnny Corder (Magistrate District 1).
Two other races will appear on the Primary ballot: Commonwealths Attorney and United States Congress – 5th District.
Grahm Trimble and Ronnie Bowling are facing off for the Commonwealths Attorney position as Republicans – no Democrat has registered for that seat.
Congressman Hal Rogers is being challenged by Gerardo Serrano for the Republican nomination, while Democrats have a choice between Scott Sykes and Kenneth Stepp. The winners will face off in the fall.
A non-partisan race, for Justice of the Supreme Court of Kentucky 3rd District is being contested by Dan Ballou, Debra Lambert and David Tapp.
Republican 52nd District State Representative Ken Upchurch is up for re-election, but has no opposition from within his party and will not appear on the ballot until the General Election. Democrat Dean Sumpter will challenge Upchurch this fall. (Democrat Yovanny Pino has withdrawn from the race.)
All polling places in McCreary County will be open from 6:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, May 22.