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Final day of filings cements local races

BY KATHLEEN FOX kfox@paducahsun.com

Tuesday marked the deadline for this year's candidates in Kentucky to file and signaled the beginning of several highly contested city and county races.

No new candidates emerged for the District 2 Senate seat, which covers the counties of McCracken, Ballard, Carlisle and Marshall, to be vacated by Sen. Bob Leeper. Republican David Hoffman, administrator at the Innovative Ophthalmology Clinic, Republican Danny Carroll, president and CEO of Easter Seals West Kentucky, and Democrat Jeff Parker, McCracken County school board chairman and local business owner, previously filed.

For McCracken County commissioner District 1, Ronnie Freeman, the Democratic incumbent, will face competition from Mike Hutchinson, who previously worked as a corrections officer at the Kentucky State Penitentiary and currently is an assistant manager at Mr. Gatti's Pizza, and Mark Scott, a member of the Plumbers and Steamfitters Union 184, currently working with Local 550 on cleanup at USEC, in the May primary.

Larry Wilson, a truancy officer with McCracken County Public Schools, and J.W. "Bill" Bartleman, chief of staff at Mid-Continent University in Mayfield, will also vie for the District 1 county seat on the Republican ticket. One Democrat and one Republican will face off in the November election based on the results of the May 20 primary.

Jerry Beyer, who currently holds the District 2 seat, will seek re-election and face Randy Otey, who retired from the county clerk position in 2004, in the Democratic primary. Current District 3 representative Zana Renfro will not seek re-election and has filed to run for county clerk. Scott Wathen, currently in his first term as District 3 constable and an employee of LATA, and John "Erick" Harris, an electrical and instrumentation supervisor for Arkema Inc. in Calvert City, will face off in the Democratic primary.

In the county clerk race, Renfro has two Democratic opponents: Tracy Jones and Julie Griggs. Becky Bowers filed as a Republican.

In the city, all current city commissioners have filed for re-election: Allan Rhodes, Sandra Wilson, Carol Gault and Richard Abraham.

Additional candidates for Paducah City Commission are Frank Bennett, executive director of the National Quilt Museum; Lennis Thompson, regional controller and chief accounting officer for Mercy Health Partners-Lourdes, Inc.; Jason Crockett, general manager of Radio Jelli 98.3, who previously ran for District 3 state representative on the Republican ticket against Democratic Rep. Gerald Watkins in 2012, and husband and wife Eric and Melissa Youngblood, who are pursuing bachelor degrees from Murray State University. City commissioner positions are nonpartisan.

Incumbent Sheriff Jon Hayden, County Attorney Samuel Clymer and Coroner Dan Sims are unopposed.

Democrat Jeff Hines is currently the lone candidate for judge-executive. Incumbent Van Newberry has announced he plans to seek re-election. But due to his party change to Independent, Newberry has until August to obtain the necessary 100 registered voter signatures and file his paperwork.

Contact Kathleen Fox, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8651 or follow @kathleendfox on Twitter.

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