<b>New candidates include challenger to Somerset mayor </b>

With the filing deadline officially pushed back to Tuesday, January 25, citizens still have a shot to campaign for local offices in the 2022 election cycle.

As of mid-day Tuesday, all the latest candidates who had filed with the Pulaski County Clerk's Office did so on January 5 or 6 -- ahead of the original deadline of last Friday.

Governor Andy Beshear signed House Bill 172 on Thursday, after legislators put changing the deadline on the fast track. Though prompted more by state redistricting, the change proved serendipitous as the Pulaski County Courthouse closed Friday due to snow and ice from Thursday's storm.

Leading the list of new local candidates is Alexander Pence, who will challenge incumbent Alan Keck in the nonpartisan Somerset mayor's race.

In county news, Max Messamore of Somerset has joined the race for District 2 Magistrate. He will be facing incumbent Mike Wilson, Skip Norfleet and Brian Carrigan for the Republican nomination.

Christian "Doc" Paulk made his candidacy for District 5 Constable official last Wednesday. That race already included five candidates -- James Charles Goldson Jr., Bobby Robinson, Jeff Ward, Stephen Branscum and David Gross.

Filing with the Secretary of State's Office in Frankfort, Somerset attorney Jerald Bryan LeMaster will challenge incumbent Katie Gregory Slone for the judgeship in 28th Judicial District's 2nd Division -- representing Pulaski and Rockcastle counties.

With the redistricting bills recently approved by state legislators but as yet unsigned by Governor Beshear, Pulaski is poised to get a 5th state representative with the addition of a few local precincts to the 71st District. At press time, Republican incumbent Josh Bray of Mount Vernon had been the only person to file in that House race.

Congressman Hal Rogers (KY-5) got two new challengers in Democrat Conor Halbleib and Republican Jeannette Andrews, who list mailing address of Louisville and Lexington, respectively. The race for the Republican nomination also includes Dr. Richard Van Dam, Brandon Russell Monhollen and Gerardo Serrano.

At the statewide level, John Schiess -- listing a Rice Lake, Wisconsin, mailing address -- joined the Republican challengers looking to unseat U.S. Senator Rand Paul. Also vying for the Republican nomination are Arnold Blankenship, Valerie "Dr. Val" Fredrick and Tami L. Stainfield. Vying for the Democrat nomination are Charles Booker, John Merrill, Joshua Wesley Blanton Sr. and Ruth Gao.

Persons interested in becoming a candidate for any office can find more information on the Secretary of State's online "Elections" portal at sos.ky.gov.

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