by Bill Mardis
“I thought filing would be slow but it’s slower than I thought.”
County Clerk Ralph Troxtell made the comment, saying he is surprised at the unusually slow pace of filing for the 2014 local election cycle. As of midmorning Tuesday, only 31 candidates had filed Petitions of Election for courthouse and city hall offices.
“This time four years ago (2010 local elections) they were lined up filing,” Troxtell recalls.
Particularly surprising is lack of early interest in the office of magistrate, considered the biggest “plum” among county offices. Each of the five magistrates is paid a base salary of $30,000 plus an undocumented $300 a month expense allowance as well as health and retirement benefits. A total of 51 candidates vied for the five seats on Pulaski Fiscal Court in the 2010 primary elections.
Official work time for a magistrate is during sessions of fiscal court, usually twice a month at meetings that usually last less than two hours. A magistrate has no authority outside meeting times. They do, however, get telephone calls from constituents and occasionally serve on committees.
During the first two weeks since filing began November 6 only seven magisterial candidates, including three incumbents, have filed:
1st District: Incumbent Jason Turpen, a Republican.
2nd District: Larry Hines and Kenneth Decker, both Republicans. Incumbent Mike Wilson, a Republican, had not filed as of Tuesday morning.
3rd District: Jimmy Wheeldon, a Republican. Incumbent Tommy Barnett, a Republican, had not filed as of Tuesday morning.
4th District: Incumbent Glenn Maxey, a Republican.
5th District: Incumbent Mike Strunk, a Republican, and Thomas D. Stevens III (Bud), a Democrat.
Troxtell said there is an early interest in the office of constable. A total of nine constabulary candidates have filed for election or reelection in the five magisterial districts. Constables do not get a salary; they are paid for delivering court papers and performing other law-enforcement duties:
1st District: Denny Allen Britt and Danny Weddle, both Republicans. James Foster, incumbent constable, has not filed.
2nd District: Clyde Molen, Carl David Jones, James Huesman and Christopher Roberts, all Republicans. Shane D. Haste, incumbent constable, has not filed.
3rd District: Travis Gillilan and Brad Wilson, both Republicans. Richard Gene Palmer, incumbent constable, has not filed.
4th District: Nobody had filed for constable as of Tuesday morning. Richard L. New is currently serving as constable.
5th District: Incumbent Michael “Wally” Wallace,, has filed for reelection.
“It’s early,” Troxtell commented. “Some candidates may be waiting until after the first of the year to skip one financial report they would be required to file.”
There is considerable interest in Troxtell’s office. The county clerk announced earlier this year he will retire at the close of his second term at the end of December next year.
The latest to file for Troxtell’s office is an agent with Shelter Insurance. Jim Reams, 142 Woodland Drive, Somerset, joins Tim Price, Linda Burnett and Josh Anderson as candidates to succeed Troxtell.
Price and Burnett both are deputy county clerks in Troxtell’s office. Anderson is a former Major League Baseball player. Reams is a member and past president of Somerset Kiwanis Club. All candidates so far are Republicans.
Incumbent Pulaski County Judge-executive Barty Bullock has filed for reelection to a third term. Steve Kelley, who finished a close second in the 2010 GOP primary race for judge-executive, has filed for another try at the county judge’s office. Kelley has been shaking hands for some time. Both Bullock and Kelley are Republicans.
Others who had filed as of midmorning Tuesday:
• Martin Hatfield has filed for reelection as county attorney. He is a Republican.
• Greg W. Speck, a Republican, has filed for sheriff. Incumbent Todd Wood, also a Republican, had not filed for reelection as of Tuesday morning.
• Michael Hall and Anthony McCollum, both Republicans, have filed for jailer. Incumbent Mike Harris, also a Republican, had not filed as of Tuesday morning.
• Clyde Strunk and Shane D. Haste have filed for coroner. Both are Republicans. Charles E. Godbey is currently serving the unexpired term of Richard D. New.
• Anthony Glenn Thompson, a Republican, has filed for reelection as county surveyor.
• Alan Keck has filed for mayor of Somerset. Municipal candidates are nonpartisan.
• Joseph Wiles has filed for the 4th Ward seat on Somerset City Council.
Multi-county candidates who have filed at the secretary of state’s office in Frankfort as of Tuesday morning:
• David A. Tapp, circuit judge, 28th Judicial Circuit.
• Jeffrey T. Burdette, chief regional circuit judge, 28th Judicial Circuit.
• Marcus Vanover, Family Court judge, 3rd Division, 28th Judicial Circuit.
• Katie Gregory Wood, district judge, 2nd Division, 28th Judicial Circuit.
Tapp, Burdette and Wood are incumbents. Vanover was recently appointed Family Court judge, succeeding retiring Walter Maguire.
• Matt Bevin, U.S. Senator, a Republican.
• Incumbent Court of Appeals Judge Michael O. Caperton, 3rd Appellate District, 1st Division.
• David Meade, 80th House District, a part of which extends into Pulaski County.
Filing deadline for most local offices is January 28. Independents, small cities’ candidates and school board candidates have until August 12 to file.
An existing election law is being enforced for the first time, Troxtell noted. He said five petitioners must sign for a candidate to use a nickname on the ballot.
“Somebody, somewhere in the state has complained so Harp Enterprises, supplier of election voting equipment, has told me the law is being enforced,” Troxtell said. Already one candidate in Pulaski County has had to get five signers to use his nickname on the ballot, the county clerk noted.