Tuesday primary will be different

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By Thomas Barr

SHEPHERDSVILLE -- In less than a day, one of the more historic elections in Bullitt County will be underway.

Voters will have an opportunity to cast their ballots from 6 a.m. until 6 p.m. on Tuesday.

But this year's primary has been difficult for observers to call.

Will there be a big turnout?

Will voters with only a few races to decide opt to stay home?

Will voters upset with the entire system come out in droves?

Will candidates who have switched parties affect those who are casting ballots?

Will there be even more signs, flags and flashing lights be put up in the last hours of the campaign?

By Tuesday evening, many of those questions will be answered.

For the first time ever, there will be more Republican primary races than Democratic contests.

And there will be only one municipality -- Shepherdsville -- which will have races on the ballot as the others have become non-partisan contests for the fall.

In looking back to November 1992 and comparing that to November 2013, the registered voters have certainly changed in Bullitt County.

Back in 1992, there were 25,962 registered voters in Bullitt County. By 2013, that number had grown to 54,349.

Of that number, 19,744 were registered as Democrats and 4,976 were Republicans.

Compare that to 2013 when 28,209 were Democrats with another 21,563 were Republicans.

According to records in the Bullitt County Clerk's office, the peak fall numbers for the Democratic Party was in December 2009, when 28,479 were registered. The Republican Party has continued to grow to its current level.

If you are looking at the gender of registered voters, the woman have always been in the lead, even dating back to 1992.

At that time, 13,210 females were registered, compared to 12,752 men.

In November 2013, the women had a 28,270-26,077 lead over the men.

By percentages, the biggest gain has come in voters who are labeled as "other".

In 1992, that number stood at 560. By 2013, it had grown to 4,577.

What do the numbers mean?

Maybe something. Maybe nothing. The voters will decide on Tuesday.

For those with questions on where they vote, it is advised that you get those answers on Monday.

Residents can go to www.pioneernews.net and link to the county clerk's website. There is a section on election information that will have all your information.

It will also list all the precinct locations.

With the redistricting last year, some people will be part of different House races.

If you have questions, call the clerk's office at 543-2413.


The list of candidates


County races

The race for Bullitt County Judge/Executive will have a spring primary between two familiar individuals.

Incumbent Melanie Roberts will face primary opposition from fellow Republican John Bradshaw, who is currently the magistrate of District Four.

The winner will face Democrat Tony Thompson, who is unopposed in the spring. Depp Rasner has filed as an Independent candidate and will also be on the fall ballot.

The race for county attorney has probably gained the most attention…and excitement.

Angie Etherton filed as a Democratic candidate.

She will face the winner of the Republican primary between incumbent Monica Meredith Robinson and John Wooldridge.

The race for county clerk will be decided in the spring.

Incumbent Kevin Mooney picked up two Republican challengers on the final day -- Richard W. Seay Sr. of Shepherdsville and Aaron Messer of Mount Washington.

No Democrat filed.

The race for sheriff will also be decided in the spring.

Incumbent David Greenwell will be challenged by Donnie Tinnell in the Republican primary. Greenwell won their latest battle four years ago.

The race for jailer will see Republican Paul Watkins having the opportunity to await the winner of the Democratic primary between incumbent Martha Weaver Knox and Shepherdsville Police Officer Daniel Patchin.

The race for coroner will also be decided in the spring.

Incumbent David Billings will be challenged by Timothy Hasting in the Republican primary.

In the magisterial races, each district will be contested.

In the First District, Democrat Michael G. Thomas of Mount Washington will not have a primary.

Republican voters will choose between incumbent Ruthie Ashbaugh and former magistrate Dennis Mitchell. The winner faces Thomas in the fall.

In the Second District, current Mount Washington councilman Brent Wheeler will not have a primary.

He will face the Republican primary survivor. Incumbent Robert Hunt is being challenged by David L. Branham and Gary Lawson, all of Mount Washington.

The Third District will find incumbent Joe Laswell facing a Republican challenger in Mike Reigle. The winner will face the survivor of the Democratic primary, which pits Fox Chase councilman Mike Higgins and former magistrate Hiram Gibson.

The Fourth District will be an open seat as Bradshaw is running for county judge.

Tom Kelly, Roger Hobbs, Sherry Waters Hurt, Paul W. Ham and Joe Rayhill will battle it out for the Republican nomination. Democrat Charles Wright will advance to the general election.

The races for constable also drew a crowd as all four are open seats.

In the First District, Republican Robert Watkins will not have primary opposition. He will face the winner of the Democratic primary between Eddie McAllister and Joshua Lee Riggle.

The Second District is currently an open seat.

Republicans Eric W. Sullivan, John Cauley, Dale Walter, Terry Alan Williams and Walter S. Thompson will battle in the Republican primary.

Democrat Troy L. Brigmon will await the GOP nominee in the fall.

In the Third District, James Scrogham Jr. will be the Republican candidate in the fall. His opponent will be either Donnie Dickson or Charles Shaw Sr., both Democrats.

The Fourth District will find Republicans Jimmy Miller and Mark Williams facing off. For the Democratic nomination, Buddy Greenwell and David H. Mann will battle.

The winners will meet in the fall.

Property valuation administrator Bruce Johnson and surveyor John St. Clair will both be unopposed.


City races

The city of Shepherdsville will have the only contested primary races.

The city of Lebanon Junction, which is non-partisan, did not have enough candidates to file to force a primary. All candidates will advance to the fall general election.

 In the only city which will have a partisan election, Shepherdsville has four candidates for mayor.

Incumbent Scott Ellis would face Gaynell Rummage in the Republican primary. And councilmember Faith Portman would face Brian James in the Democratic primary.

Four Democrats filed for the six available seats. Former councilman Robert Flaherty, Carol Brady, Lindsey Wolff and Kenneth Newton will advance to the fall general election.

On the Republican side, 11 candidates have filed with the six top votegetters in May advancing to the fall election.

Incumbents Jose Cubero, Bernard Brown, Dana Bischoff James, Clinton Kline and Gloria Taft all filed for re-election. Other Republicans who have filed include former mayor and councilman Larry Hatfield, Randy Hammond, Ashley Bratcher, Jim Smothers, Daryl Lee and Glen Fleming.


State races

Incumbent Russell Webber will have opposition in his bid for a second term in the General Assembly.

Webber will be representing the 26th District, which includes much of Bullitt and part of Hardin County, under the new boundaries.

He will be challenged by Alex Wimsatt of Mount Washington. A former journalist, Wimsatt is currently employed with the Shepherdsville-Bullitt County Tourist and Convention Commission.

The winner of the primary will face Democrat Scott Wantland, a local attorney, in the fall.

In the 49th District, former representative Linda Belcher will be seeking to return to a redesigned seat. The Democrat is being challenged by Jonathan Cacciatore.

Republican Michael Nemes will await the winner in the fall general election.

In the 53rd District, which includes a couple of precincts from eastern Bullitt County, Democrats Kent Stevens and Donna Drury have filed. Also filing is Republican James Tipton.

And in the new 38th District in the Senate, incumbent Dan Seum has filed for another term. He will be challenged in the Republican primary by Bullitt Countian Brenda Board.


Court of Appeals

There will be a race for the selection of state Court of Appeals.

Osi Onyekwuluje, Mark H. Flener and Kelly Thompson will be on the ballot for the Second District seat.

The top two votegetters will advance to the fall election.


Congressional races

On the federal level, Republicans will have an opportunity to vote for the U.S. Senate candidate.

Incumbent Mitch McConnell will be challenged by Matt Bevin, Chris Payne, Shawna Sterling and Brad Copas.

Democrats will have an opportunity to vote for their U.S. Senate candidate. Alison Lundergan Grimes is the heavy favorite but she will be challenged by Gregory Brent Leichty, Tom Recktenwald and Burrel Charles Farnsley.