HARRODSBURG — Mercer Countians who exercise their right to vote in the May primary won’t get much of a workout.
Due to the defection of four candidates in local and state races, the only votes that will be counted on May 26 are those cast for the presidential contenders, Mercer County Clerk Chris Horn told Fiscal Court on Tuesday.
The race for Harrodsburg City Commission initially attracted nine hopefuls for the four seats, which required that contest 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 already 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.
“According to the KRS statute, we do not record or tabulate the vote for any individual candidates,” he said.
Even though he is not a candidate, Coleman’s name will be listed along with incumbents Scott Mosely, Marvin “Bubby” Isham and Charile Mattingly, and challengers Rose Bishop, Howard “Poppa” Sallee, Quentin Pidcock, Bill Cruce and Garry Bradshaw.
Coleman’s defection has effectively ended the primary campaign season just as it was beginning. Judge-Executive Milward Dedman said Bishop and Mattingly had already placed signs around town but have since pulled them up to save them for the fall.
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 Three Republicans who filed for that race have withdrawn their names, leaving incumbent Kim King as the only candidate.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 run unopposed.
So who can Mercer voters vote for and have their votes count? Horn said Republican voters can choose between presidential candidates Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney, Ron Paul and “Uncommitted,” while Democrats have the option of Barack Obama and “Uncommitted.”
Horn is predicting a low voter turnout for the primary.