With about a month remaining before the deadline to file for local offices, only 45 candidates have filed Petitions of Election in Pulaski County Clerk Ralph Troxtell’s office. The total does not include 11 incumbent judges, senatorial and state representative candidates who have filed for reelection in the secretary of state’s office in Frankfort.
Courthouse observers have described the filing pace as “slow as molasses.” They obviously are comparing the current office seekers with the 2010 local elections when, for example, 51 candidates filed for the five seats on Pulaski Fiscal Court.
“Four years ago they were standing in line to file,” remarked Troxtell. There were 103 candidates on the ballots for the May 2010 primary elections.
This time, up until now, only 10 candidates have filed for the five magisterial positions. There is still plenty of time –– three days after the Christmas break in December and 19 days in January when the clerk’s office is open. January 28 at 4 p.m. is the filing deadline for local offices subject to the May 20 primary.
Political prognosticators are doubtful the total number of magisterial candidates this local election cycle will compare with 2010. Four years ago was the first election after magistrates doubled their annual salaries from $15,000 to $30,000. Each magistrate also gets $300 a month in undocumented expenses plus health insurance and retirement benefits.
Magistrates can set their own salaries. The law requires they do it prior to the first Monday in May in the year they are elected.
However, the swarms of magisterial hopefuls in 2010 learned it’s tough to beat an incumbent, especially when several candidates file against the person in office. In political theory, one on one with an incumbent gives the outsider a chance. However, split the anti-incumbent vote among several candidates and the incumbent, unless he has stubbed his toe badly, usually wins in a cakewalk.