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Linda Belcher to be on fall ballot

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By The Staff

SHEPHERDSVILLE - The Bullitt County Democratic Party will have a candidate on the Nov. 4 ballot in the state House of Representatives race in the 49th District.

Bullitt County party officials will have until Monday at 4 p.m. to submit a name to the secretary of state to run against Republican Trina Summers.

The party leaders didn’t have to look too far to find a candidate to replace incumbent Larry Belcher, who passed away in a car accident on Oct. 6.

At a special meeting Sunday afternoon, the party selected Linda Belcher, a retired school administrator and wife of Larry Belcher, as its nominee.

State party officials, as well as caucus leaders in the General Assembly, were present Sunday at Shepherdsville City Hall.

After determining the manner to nominate a replacement, A.C. “Happy” Cahoe made the nomination of Belcher. There were no other names placed in the hat for nomination.

The precinct captains accepted belcher’s nomination unanimously.

"There’s no way to replace Larry,” said Linda Belcher in accepting the nomination. “I will do my best and I will work hard.”

She said she knows the projects her husband valued and that it was important for the county to have a Democrat in office, especially during the discussions on redistricting.

Cahoe said behind every good representative is a good family.

“He couldn’t be a good representative without a good spouse and kids,” said Cahoe.

Party chairperson Debby Stinson said the couple’s relationship puts Linda in a position to know Larry’s vision and goals.

Following the nomination, party leaders went about the task for determining strategy. Issues such as transitioning from one campaign to another were also discussed.

Bullitt County clerk Kevin Mooney said he was in contact with election officials and other clerks throughout the state immediately upon finding out about the situation.

He said Harp Enterprises, which is the vendor for the local voting machines, guaranteed that the needed changes could be made in time for the Nov. 4 election.

Any absentee votes for Larry Belcher would not be counted in the final tally.

The state party will shoulder the expense of making the changes on the ballots and in the voting machines, estimated to be $8,000-$10,000.

To date, Mooney said about 200 applications for paper ballots had been received and sent. Any vote returned for Larry Belcher would not be counted and could not be transferred.

Until Harp can change the absentee machine in the clerk’s office, Mooney said voting continues. The only signage is to alert voters that Larry Belcher had passed away.

Stinson said she was playing to be in Frankfort early Monday morning. At that time, notification would be sent to Mooney and to Harp. There is a possibility the absentee machines could be changed by that afternoon.

If a person applied for a paper ballot, Mooney said another new ballot with Linda Belcher’s name could not be sent. The person could state they would not be voting by paper ballot, return it and then vote at the polls as normal.

Linda Belcher is a retired education administrator. Her longest tenure was as principal of Mount Washington Elementary. She also served interim positions at other schools and most recently was the director of transportation for the school system.

If elected, it would be another husband and wife duo that has served in the state House. Leo Bleemel served from 1954-55, 1962-63 and 1968-69, while his wife, Virginia, served the following two years.

John Harper and his wife, Mary, both served in the state legislature.

Larry Belcher was seeking re-election for a fourth term at the time of his death.