Contested elections set up for May and November
By Jim Turner

Posted on January 30, 2018 9:56 PM

Eight primary campaigns and a minimum of 10 general election showdowns have been set up during the local election season of 2018, following the close of filing for office Tuesday afternoon.

Twelve candidates—11 of them incumbents—survived the filing deadline and will be without opposition in either the primary or general elections, unless new candidates in the general election come from those registering as independents this summer.

The only contested countywide race is loaded with candidates. Five men with extensive law enforcement experience are running for sheriff, four of them as Democrats. They include incumbent Sheriff Wallace Whittaker along with three who served under him before being let go when they filed, Stephen Stratton, Charles Dauley, and the lone Republican, Robbie Matthews. The fifth candidate is recently retired Russellville Policeman Morris Lynn Kisselbaugh, a Democrat.

Two magisterial races drew a big field.

District 1 Magistrate Dickie Carter has opposition in both the Republican primary and the general election. The other Republicans are Timothy Rainwaters and Russell Sharp. The Democrats are Russell Poore and Tyler Davenport.

District 5’s seat on fiscal court will be open, since four-term incumbent Jo Orange is not seeking another term. Nine people filed for the seat, although one of them, Steve Stratton, has withdrawn so there will not be any confusion between him and his son of the same name, the sheriff candidate. The five Republican candidates for District 5 Magistrate are Anne Churchill Crawford, Robert Chyle, Boyd Wright and Ricky Appling. The Democrats are Lonnie Brown, Boyce Coles and Barry Perkins.

District 4 also will have a vacant seat, since incumbent Drexel Davis has chosen not to seek another term. Democrats Dale Givens and Ranny Adler will go head-to-head in May before the winner meets the lone Republican candidate, Jason Wade Harper.

Another Democratic primary involving fiscal court pits District 2 incumbent Jack Crossley against challenger Mike Weldon. Both are Democrats.

One contested fiscal court seat doesn’t need primaries. District 6 incumbent Thomas Bouldin, a Democrat, will face Republican Cody Tatum in the general election.

A two-county race matches a pair of Republicans in a primary election. Neil Kerr and Joe Hendricks are seeking the office of Commonwealth Attorney. The winner will go against Democrat Justin Crocker, who is the Acting Commonwealth Attorney, in November. The current office holder, Gail Guiling, announced this week that she will not seek another term, according to WRUS News.

Three county-wide offices will match incumbents against challengers from the other party. They are County Judge-Executive Logan Chick, a Democrat, against Larry Brewer; Republican Jailer Phil Gregory versus Freddie Norris Markham; and Circuit Clerk Sherry Wilkins against Republican challenger Mary Orange.

A contested general election race has been set up for Russellville City Council’s six seats. Incumbents Pat Walpole Bell, Jimmy Davenport, Darlene Gooch, Sandra Kinser, Jack Whipple and Larry Wilcutt will be in the field along with Albert Head, Amy Stafford and Diane Gilliam Walker. Filing for Russellville offices is required by the January deadline, but since fewer than 13 candidates filed, no primary is necessary.

Several incumbents have no opposition. Unless someone filed in Frankfort shortly before the deadline, State Rep. Jason Petrie, a Republican, is unopposed for a second term, as is District Judge Ken Williams.

Other unopposed incumbents are County Attorney Joe Ross, County Clerk Scottie Harper, County Coroner Mary Givens, County Surveyor Jeff Harris, Third District Magistrate Barry Joe Wright, Russellville Mayor Mark Stratton, and constables John Monroe, Butch Inman and Stephen Rogers.

One new office holder who is unopposed is Brooke Brown Waldrop, who will succeed her retiring father, Ben Brown, as Property Valuation Administrator. She is a Democrat. The office, which was held by their relative, the late Karl Dawson, for decades, will remain in the family.

In November more offices will be on the ballot that don’t require primaries because they are non-partisan. Six seats each on Adairville, Auburn and Lewisburg city councils will be available, as will some mayoral, school board and conservation district positions.

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