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Familiar, new faces win Fiscal Court races

BY KATHLEEN FOX kfox@paducahsun.com

Two incumbents and two new faces emerged victorious after a busy primary for the McCracken Fiscal Court.

In the McCracken County District 1 primary, incumbent Democratic commissioner Ronnie Freeman defeated challengers Mike Hutchinson, an assistant manager at Mr. Gatti's Pizza and former corrections officer at the Kentucky State Penitentiary, and Mark Scott, a member of the Plumbers and Steamfitters Union 184.

Freeman, who has held the office nearly 16 years, received 3,218 votes or 53.42 percent of the total vote. Scott received 1,664 votes for 27.62 percent, and Hutchinson received 1,142 votes for 18.96 percent of the total. 

"It's a great honor and very humbling to be re-elected as the Democratic commissioner," Freeman said. "It's a responsibility that I certainly don't take lightly. I plan to work hard to win the general election and continue no tax increases for the next four years."

In the Republican District 1 primary, Bill Bartleman, chief of staff at Mid-Continent University and a former Paducah Sun reporter, defeated Larry Wilson, truancy coordinator at McCracken County Schools and licensed barber stylist.

Bartleman finished with 1,940 votes for 54.24 percent of the total, and Wilson collected 1,637 votes for 45.76 percent.

"I'm pleased at the support I received and glad to make history as the first winner of a Republican primary for county commission," Bartleman said. "I congratulate Larry Wilson and hope his supporters will join me in trying to unseat the incumbent and get some new blood on the commission."

Democrat Freeman and Republican Bartleman will battle in the November general election for the District 1 seat.

District 2 incumbent commissioner and former county coroner Jerry Beyer defeated Randy Otey, former county clerk, to earn a third term in the seat. Beyer received 3,471 votes for 54.13 percent of the total compared to Otey's 2,941 votes for 45.87 percent. 

"I'm elated, appreciative and humbled that the citizens of McCracken County put their faith in me and reelected me," Beyer said. "I pledge to work to do my best for the county within the constraints of the budget."

In the Democratic District 3 primary, Scott Wathen, currently the District 3 constable and an employee of LATA, defeated John "Erick" Harris, an electrical and instrumentation supervisor for Arkema Inc., for the seat to be vacated by Zana Renfro. Wathen received 2,882 votes for 51.02 percent, and Harris tallied 2,767 votes for 48.98 percent of the total.

"I'm ecstatic about the win in a close race and ready to get to work," Wathen said. "My first emphasis will be finding opportunities to bring more jobs to the area."

Both District 2 and 3 winners, Beyer and Wathen, are running unopposed in the November general election.

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

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