Aug. 14 Is Final Date To Enter Mayor, Council Races
Burgin Mayor George Hensley has not decided whether he will run for reelection.
“I don’t know,” Hensley said at his office Tuesday. “Part of me says I need to and part of me says I don’t.”
While several people have discussed running to be Burgin’s next mayor, only former police chief Jim Caldwell has officially entered the race. Caldwell filed to run on July 10. On Facebook, he said: “I intend to concentrate on positive changes. I will establish short term goals and work with the elected council and other officials to make City government work for the community.”
Hensley said he began working for the city government in 1972, as a police officer. He’s been with the city ever since, serving as water superintendent and city councilman and finally as mayor. However, his time as mayor has been controversial, from firing his Caldwell as police chief to the employment of his son, Shane Hensley. The mayor has been investigated by the Mercer County Ethics Board and physically attacked on the street by a disgruntled citizen. Both the ethics board probe and the prosecution against Hensley’s attacker are still ongoing.
“Times are moving faster than I am,” Hensley said. “I probably won’t know until Tuesday.”
So far, only four people have filed to run for the six-member Burgin city council. Only one of them, David Caldwell, Jim Caldwell’s brother, is an incumbent. John “Skippy” Stamps, Melissa Bailey and Lisa Hisle, a frequent attendee of city council meetings, have also filed to run.
In contrast, 15 people ran for the council in 2016. There were so many candidates a second debate had to be set up to handle them all.
The deadline to enter the race for the city council or mayor is Tuesday, Aug. 14, at 4 p.m. Coincidentally, that is also the date of the next Burgin City Council meeting.
While the 2018 general election is shaping up to be one of the most competitive non-presidential election years in recent American history, it has been a quiet one here in Mercer County. Only a handful of countywide offices—jailer, sheriff, property value administrator and one magistrate position—are being contested. In the May primary, only 13-percent of eligible voters in Mercer County cast their ballots, the lowest turn out in Kentucky according to the Secretary of State’s office.
In other races, Hank Linderman of Leitchfield is challenging the Republican incumbent, Brett Guthrie of Bowling Green, to represent the 2nd Congressional District, which includes Mercer County, in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Kim King, a Republican who has served the 55th district, which includes Mercer County, in the Kentucky House of Representatives since 2011, is being challenged by Cathy Carter, a retired teacher and a Democrat.
Democrat Carolyn Dupont, a college professor, is challenging Republican incumbent Tom Buford for the 22nd senate district, which includes Mercer County. Both candidates are from Jessamine County. Buford has served in the state senate since 1991.
In countywide races, Sheriff Ernie Kelty, a Democrat who has held office since 2010, is being challenged by Republican Kevin D. Bugg. County Clerk Chris Horn, a Democrat who has held office for over 11 years, is being challenged by Republican Rodney Compton. David L. Best, a Democrat who has served as property valuation administrator since 2006, is being challenged by Republican Jessica Elliott. Magistrate Donald Webb, a Democrat, is being challenged by Republican George Jones. All other county officers, including the judge-executive, county attorney and circuit court clerk, are running unopposed.
In Harrodsburg, Mayor Eddie Long and Commissioners Charlie Mattingly, Scott Moseley, Jack L. Coleman and Marvin “Bubby” Isham are all running unopposed for reelection.
While few offices are being contested, there are still some new names. Andrew Miner has filed to run for the Mercer County Board of Education district three, which is currently being represented by Billy G. Montgomery. Montgomery is seeking reelection to the school board.
Katrina Sexton, who is currently serving on the Burgin City Council, has filed to run for the Burgin Board of Education. If elected, Sexton will replace Donna Major, who has served on the board since 1995. Major announced she will not be running for reelection earlier this year.
The general election is Nov. 6.
Voters may check their current registration status and where they vote with the Voter Information Center found at GoVoteKY.com.
For questions, contact your county clerk or the State Board of Elections at (502) 573-7100.
For more, check out this week’s issue of the Harrodsburg Herald.