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Low to moderate turnout expected

BY CARRIE DILLARD cdillard@paducahsun.com

While McCracken County officials don't expect a large voter turnout for today's primary elections, Graves County officials expect many will want to vote in the first-ever contested local Republican races in that county's primary. 

Polls will be open today from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Registered voters who were going to be out of town on election day had until 5:30 p.m. Monday to cast their vote.

With races for county clerk and county commissioner in McCracken County, Deputy Clerk Lyne Dickey said she isn't expecting a high voter turnout. 

"This has been the quietest election I've ever seen," said Dickey, who has worked in the clerk's office for more than 22 years.  "We are not hearing a lot of talk at all."

In McCracken County, local Democratic primary races include Zana Renfro, Tracy Jones and Julie Griggs for county clerk; incumbent Ronnie Freeman, Mike Hutchinson and Mark Scott running for District 1 county commissioner; incumbent Jerry Beyer and Randy Otey for District 2 county commissioner; and John "Erick" Harris v. Scott Wathen for District 3 county commissioner.

A local Republican primary race for District 1 county commissioner pits Larry Wilson against Bill Bartleman.

Voters will choose between Republican candidates David Hoffman and Danny Carroll for state Senate District 2, a seat currently held by Bob Leeper, Independent.

In Graves County, it's the local races, not the GOP contest between incumbent Mitch McConnell and challenger Matt Bevin for the U.S. Senate, that will bring people to the polls today, according to Clerk Barry Kennemore.

"We've got several, local contested races. For the first time in history, we've had local Republicans running in a primary," he said. "I think (the U.S. Senate race) will bring people out, but it's not been as exciting as Senate races in the past."

In Graves County, local Republican primary races include Jason Jones versus Dale Usher for county judge-executive; Kevin Wiggins  against Danny Foy for District 1 county commissioner, and Tyler Goodman and Kenny Jackson for District 2 county commissioner.

Local Democratic primary races include Mark Waggoner versus Jesse Perry for judge-executive; Bob Cavitt, Richie Galloway, Mark Spillman and Jeff Gream for District 1 county commissioner; and Johnny Jackson, Bob Spalding Jr., Jason Burkeen and Vicki McClain for District 2 county commissioner.

Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes predicted fewer than 30 percent of registered voters would cast ballots in today's  election.

Kentucky added 125,000 new voters before the April 21 registration deadline.

Kennemore said he expected Graves County's voting percentage would be a little higher than the state's.

"Graves County always does better than the state average," he said, "so I expect at least 40 percent."

Contact Carrie Dillard, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8657.

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