As it stands, however, County Clerk Chris Horn isn’t sure that anyone outside the hard-core politicos will show up to vote in the May 22 primary due to the large number of candidate defections that basically have rendered the election moot in Mercer.
“Definitely, the die-hards will vote,” Horn said. “But if you’re not in that category, I’m not sure what the day will bring.”
The names and choices will still be on the ballot, it’s just that votes won’t even be counted in the Harrodsburg City Commission and 55th District state representative races because candidates in those contests dropped out after the ballot was certified.
The race for Harrodsburg City Commission initially attracted nine hopefuls for the four seats, which required that contest to be put on the primary ballot in order to trim it down to eight candidates for the general election in November. But Jack L. Coleman withdrew from the city race on March 12, reducing the number of candidates to eight.
Since Coleman quit the non-partisan race after the ballots had been printed, all nine names will be listed, from which voters can chose up to four, Horn explained. But none of the votes in the City Commission contest will even be counted because all eight of the remaining candidates will move on to the fall election, Horn said.
“All of the candidates in Harrodsburg City Commission race will be moving forward,” Horn said.
Even though he is not a candidate, Coleman’s name will be listed along with incumbents Scott Moseley, Marvin “Bubby” Isham and Charlie Mattingly, and challengers Rose Bishop, Howard “Poppa” Sallee, Quentin Pidcock, Bill Cruce and Garry Bradshaw.
Those candidates won’t even be able to use the primary as a straw poll to see where they stand because, by law, the results of that race won’t even be counted or released, Horn said.
A similar situation has impacted the contest for the 55th District House seat. Three Republicans who filed for that race have withdrawn their names, leaving incumbent Kim King as the only candidate. Charles Terry and Charles Ransdell, both of Anderson County, and John Riley of Spencer County, all pulled out after the redistricting plan approved by the legislature was shot down by the state Supreme Court and districts were returned to their original boundaries.
Again, the Republican candidates for the House seat withdrew after the ballot was printed, so all four names will appear in May but none of the votes will be tallied, Horn said. King will move forward to November, where she will face Democrat Kent Stevens of Lawrenceburg. Stevens held the seat for one two-year term before King defeated him in 2010.
Even the presidential races are devoid of drama. President Obama, the incumbent, is unopposed on the Democratic side while Mitt Romney is a shoo-in on the Republican side even though Santorum, Gingrich and Ron Paul will appear on the Mercer ballot.
While Horn is concerned Mercer County might set some kind of record for low voter turnout, he’s confident that voters will return for the general election in November when their votes really will matter.
“Fall will definitely be busy again, but this May situation is kind of nothing for us,” he said.