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Turnout weak but landslides aplenty

Few participate in Boyle County primary elections Tuesday; all races won by double digits

By BEN KLEPPINGER and CASEY CRAIGER

Not many voters turned out for Tuesday’s primary elections in Boyle County, but those that did had some clear favorites among the candidates.

After a slow and steady turnout early Tuesday, according to polling officials, Tuesday night saw swift and smooth vote counting — the precincts were all reporting and the final vote totals tallied less than two hours after polls closed.

SO YOU KNOW: Click here for a spreadsheet showing all vote totals and a breakdown of votes by precinct in every race.

The closest race of the night was the Democratic primary for 4th District Magistrate — which Hub coffeehouse owner Jason Cullen won by almost 11 percentage points. Other than that race and the Republican primary for jailer — which LeeRoy Hardin won by a little more than 11 percentage points — the rest of the local competitions were landslides.

Howard Hunt took 60 percent of the vote in the Republican primary for judge-executive; Ronnie Short got two-thirds of the vote in the Republican primary for magistrate, 2nd District; Brian Wofford had more votes than both his opponents combined in the Democratic primary for jailer; and Jamey Gay received more than 68 percent of the votes in the Democratic primary for magistrate, 5th District.

Two primaries for constable also were not close — Dennis Curtsinger received almost 68 percent of the votes in the Democratic primary for constable, 2nd District; and James Murphy got 69 percent of the vote in the Democratic primary for constable, 3rd District.

For more on each individual race, read today’s and tomorrow’s Advocate-Messenger.

Bruce Nichols, a voting official at the Indian Hills precinct, said a big change in this election was the addition of technology that allowed precinct officials to scan voters’ driver’s licenses.

“The technology has been working very well so far as registering voters with the new concept,” he stated.

The new system scans the back of your license and identifies your voter information, as well as precinct for poll officers. It also keeps real-time statistics of what percentage of registered voters have voted within the county. Nichols noted this new system is expected to save Kentucky hundreds of thousands of dollars and has decreased voter check-in time from three minutes to 30 seconds.

As of about 7 p.m. Tuesday, the Kentucky attorney general’s election hotline had received 139 election-complaint calls statewide; one of those calls was from Boyle County concerning an election official.

Total turnout was around 22 percent, according to Boyle County Clerk Trille Bottom. That’s significantly lower than the statewide turnout of 30 percent predicted by Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes last week.

There was one race on the ballot for a federal elected office — the Democratic primary for U.S. Representative in the 2nd Congressional District. 

About four out of five Democratic voters in Boyle cast a vote in that race. They gave Hank Linderman about 30.5 percent of the vote (696); Grant Short 26 percent (594); Rane Eir Olivia Sessions almost 24 percent (547); and Brian Pedigo 19.6 percent (448).

Linderman ultimately won the Democratic nomination in the 2nd District, which includes 21 counties. Linderman got 30 percent of the vote (14,516); Pedigo got more than 28 percent (13,866); Sessions got almost 22 percent (10,501); and Short got about 19.6 percent (9,470), according to results from the Kentucky secretary of state.

At a candidate forum held in Boyle County in February, Linderman said health care for everyone would be his top priority if elected.

Linderman said then that he believes “national Democrats have abandoned” Kentucky and given it up to Republicans. He disagrees with that decision.

“Kentucky is ground zero, in my opinion. This is where Democrats must construct a narrative that works for rural America. This is our opportunity to make a huge difference,” he said. “In other words, we respect our past, but we have to come up with a new paradigm, we have to come up with a new way to help the folks in the Second District.”