Commonwealth Journal

May 17, 2013

Election rumors running rampant

Candidates for judge-executive hot topic; Wiles says no mayoral bid

by Bill Mardis
Commonwealth Journal

Somerset —

Heated conversations statewide about Democratic Party efforts to find a candidate to unseat well-heeled Mitch McConnell are clogging talk shows, but around the Pulaski County courthouse and on street corners in Somerset rumors are rampant about candidates for city and county offices in 2014.
Raising eyebrows are some possible candidates for Pulaski County judge-executive. It looks early on as if the GOP primary election for county judge will be a doozy.
• One name being tossed around is George Flynn, the recently reelected veteran circuit court clerk from South of the River. Will Flynn get in the race for Pulaski County judge-executive? He says he is being asked to run.
• How about insurance man Rick Girdler? He longs for a position as a public servant and admits kicking around the idea of running for judge-executive.
Then, for some not-so-surprising matter of facts:
• There’s not a hint that Judge-executive Barty Bullock won’t run for a third term. However, four telephone calls to his office over two days didn’t contact the incumbent for candidacy confirmation.
• You can bet the farm Steve Kelley will try again. He finished a strong second in the 2010 judge-executive’s GOP primary, ahead of former Judge-executive Darrell BeShears.
Next Tuesday would be primary Election Day if this were not an election-free year. However, the non-event was as good an excuse as any for the Commonwealth Journal to check the early field.
“I have kicked around the idea of being county judge-executive,” Rick Girdler said. “It’s not really sure I will get in the race, but I’ve always wanted to be a public servant,” he added. Girdler, 58, has been in the insurance business for more than 35 years. The owner of Girdler Insurance Agency is a Republican.
Nobody can envision George Flynn as anything but Pulaski circuit clerk. But time changes everything.
Flynn, asked about rumors that he is looking at the county judge-executive’s office, didn’t confirm or deny but definitely left the door open to the possibility that he might seek the judge’s office.
“I’ve been asked by a few people to consider running for county judge-executive,” said Flynn. “I’m concerned, as many people are, about issues in county government.”
Flynn, sworn is as circuit clerk in December 1987, said he is not committed one way or another. “Tell them George Flynn is happy as their circuit clerk,” he laughed. He is a Republican.
Steve Kelley, after an encouraging run in 2010, will likely be a GOP candidate for the same office next year.
“I’m going to be looking at it ... I’m leaning in that direction,” Kelley said.  
Oh yes, lest we forget, the office of mayor of Somerset is up for election or reelection, and there is one almost sure thing: Former Mayor JP Wiles, as much as he enjoyed being mayor, won’t try to regain the office.
“No,” Wiles said. “I’ve had enough.” He sounded emphatic, like he meant it.
Wiles was mayor for two terms prior to being upset in a 43-vote loss to Eddie Girdler in 2006. Wiles tried again unsuccessfully in 2010, and Girdler won a second term.
Before serving as mayor, Wiles was a magistrate on Pulaski Fiscal Court for four years.
Political pundits are talking under their breath about a “strong” candidate to oppose Somerset Mayor Eddie Girdler. But they won’t talk out loud. Nobody is saying who the mystery candidate is.
Again, if you happen to have another farm, you can lay it on the line that Eddie Girdler will seek a third term as Somerset mayor.
“Yes sir! No question!” Girdler said. He didn’t even pause to think.
Hold the line! We’re running out of space! Usually there are more than 100 candidates on local election ballots in Pulaski County and there is no reason to think 2014 elections will be different. Lots of time is left. Filing deadline for most candidates in January 28, 2014.