Presidential race draws most attention, but five local races are contested
By Jim Turner

Posted on November 7, 2016 11:31 PM

The long-longed-for General Election Day finally is upon us. From President of the United States to conservation district commissioners, new leaders will be chose or re-chosen in Washington, Frankfort, Logan County and its four cities Tuesday.

The mangled mess in selecting a successor to President Barack Obama has taken Americans into gutters many voters didn’t even know existed. We have been subjected to tasteless debates and defamatory advertising for months. And now it’s about to end, unless Republican nominee Donald Trump loses, in which case he is likely to contest the results for months in what he repeatedly terms as a “rigged election.” Most polls says he will likely lose.

Trump’s best known opponent is Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, who previously spent eight years in the White House as First Lady while her husband Bill was president.

Indiana Governor Mike Pence and Virginia Senator Tim Kaine are the vice presidential running mates for Trump and Clinton, respectively.

Other presidential candidates on the ballot are Gary Johnson of the Libertarian party, Rocky Rougue De La Fuente of AMD, Jill Stein of the Green party, and Evan McMullin, who is running as an independent.

Pam Delaney, a deputy in the office of Logan County Clerk Scottie Harper, says over 20 more candidates are eligible to receive votes as write-ins.

Contested races are on the ballot for Logan County’s representatives for Congress.

After an unsuccessful presidential bid, U.S. Senator Rand Paul of Bowling Green was able to seek reelection because Republicans selected their senatorial nominee via caucuses instead of a primary election. Paul had sought that concession to allow him to run first for president and for the Senate if that didn’t work out. He is married to Russellville High School graduate Kelley Ashby Paul.

The Democrats chose Lexington Mayor Jim Gray as their candidate to try to unseal Republican Paul. He is a native of Glasgow and is part of the highly successful Gray Construction firm which originated in that city.

Former Kentucky Commissioner of Agriculture James Comer of Monroe County is the Republican nominee to succeed 11-term congressman Ed Whitfield in the House of Representatives. Actually he is running for both a full term and for the unexpired two months of Whitfield’s current term, since he not only decided not to seek reelection but to resign early. Comer was narrowly defeated in the Republican primary for governor last year, with the victor, Matt Bevins, moving on to become Gov. Bevin. Comer defeated a highly qualified candidate—Whitfield’s long-time field representative Michael Pape—handily in the Congressional primary.

Comer’s Democratic opponent is Samuel L. Gaskins of Hopkinsville, a former tobacco farmer and construction worker, now medically-retired from the Army.

The state House of Representative race has drawn considerable attention because of the money Republicans have allotted to it. The same two candidates who were in this race in 2014, Democratic incumbent Martha Jane King of Logan County and Republican challenger Jason Petrie of Todd County, are matched up again. Two years ago King defeated Petrie by well over 2,100 votes, pulling in almost 60 percent of the vote.

This year, however, Petrie is running as a Republican instead of an independent. Consequently, Republican treasure chests from outside sources have been thrown open to fund advertisements which hurl insults at King. The ads are everywhere, including Nashville television.

It’s all part of the GOP trying to take over the state House, hoping to give Bevin a clear path to achieve his goals, which include reducing the scope of providing insurance to low-income individuals and families and to dismantling many of the programs offered by state colleges.

King continues her policy of not using negative advertising and relying on the service she has provided Logan and Todd Countians during her eight years in office.

Sen. Whitney Westerfield of Christian County, who represents his home county along with Logan and Todd counties in the state senate, will be reelected by acclamation, since no one ran against him in the primary or general elections.

For a while, it appeared there would be contested races for two seats on the Logan County Board of Education, but now the number is one. Long-time Lewisburg board representative Ralph Cropper is being opposed by banker and civic leader Teresa Hendrix. Ethan Holloway had filed to run against Johnny Dawson as the Olmstead representative on the board, but Holloway has since notified Scottie Harper that he is withdrawing from the race. A Dawson has represented Olmstead on the school board for many decades.

Chandlers board member Phil Baker joins Dawson in being unopposed.

Russellville Board of Education members Phillip West and Davonna Page are running unopposed for another term. The death of a third board member, David Corbin, came after an election for his successor could be placed on this ballot. The board will appoint a successor to fill the remainder of his term.

Incumbent Auburn Mayor Mike Hughes is being opposed by Maxie Rittenberry, a self-employed mechanic and long-time Search & Rescue leader. Rittenberry has previously run against other Auburn mayors.

Adairville mayor Donna Blake is unopposed for reelection.

Russellville Mayor Mark Stratton and Lewisburg Mayor Bert Adler are in the middle of four-year terms.

Two of the county’s four cities feature contested races for council. In Russellville, incumbents Pat Walpole Bell, Jimmy Davenport, Darlene Gooch, Sandra Kinser, Jack Whipple and Larry Wilcutt are being opposed by Albert Head and write-in candidate Lora Murphy.

At Adairville, current council members Danny Finch, Bill Steen and Becky Tinch are joined on the ballot by Johnny Joyce, Derrick Scott, Tabitha Stevens and Amy Trimble Williams. Incumbents Brent Johnson and Art Violette are not seeking reelection. Also not on the ballot is Tony Nichols, who was appointed to the council after Councilwoman Michelle Trimble had to resign because she had moved outside the city limits.

Lewisburg has exactly six people running for the six council seats. They include incumbents Jason Harper, Teddy Harper and Jason Rolley. They will be joined on the new council by write-in candidates Susan Meyer, Carole Moore and Scott Sweetsir. Teddy Harper was named to the council when Jason Bradley resigned. Incumbents Mike Kirby, Steve Nichols and Kathy Whitescarver-Stewart are not seeking reelection.

Auburn, which at times has featured a double-figure roster of candidates, is on the opposite end of the spectrum this time. Only four men—all incumbents—filed for election and no one entered the race as a write-in. Those who are assured of reelection are Rex Evans, Steve Montgomery and Bobby Price. They will be joined by another incumbent, Claude Tisdale, who was appointed to the council when Barry Bilyeu resigned. Not seeking reelection are council members Norma Kutzman and Randy Rust. Two more members will be appointed in January.

There are four seats on each of the conservation district boards. Logan is the only county in the state with two conservation districts. Four people have filed for those seats in South Logan. They are Bob Allen, Jeff Campbell, Frank Orndorff Jr. and Eddy Russell.

Only three me candidates are running for the four North Logan seats. They are Ernie Ezell and Anthony ‘Andy’ Woodall and write-in Bobby Brown. A fourth director will be appointed.

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