Primary election candidates are set; deadline passes for May 2nd election

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The deadline to file to be a candidate for the May 2nd primary election passed at noon last Friday with a flurry of activity, as candidates filed their intentions just before the deadline. The candidate list is now set, and voters in Switzerland County can get set to speak with candidates and find out their views between now and the primary.

The winners in the May primary will square off in the November general election.

Here’s a look at this year’s primary races:

COUNTY SHERIFF

There will be a contested race in the Democratic primary, where current Sheriff Nathan Hughes will face off against challenger William “Bill” Browning in the May election. Republican Daniel Goldstone is the only candidate for his party; and will face the winner of the Democratic race in November.

COUNTY AUDITOR

The office of county auditor is a popular one on this year’s primary ballot. In the Democratic race, there are three candidates, including Rachel Bladen, Sharon Harris, and Randy See. There is currently no candidate running on the Republican ticket, but party officials will have the option of filling the ballot with a candidate before the general election in November.

COUNTY ASSESSOR

The county assessor’s office is currently manned by Democrat Joan Armstrong, and she is the only candidate from either ticket on the primary ballot. Again, the Republican party will have the option of fielding a candidate before the general election.

COUNTY CLERK

The office of Clerk of the Circuit Court, commonly called the County Clerk, is up for election, and Democrat Ginger Peters is seeking reelection. She is unchallenged in the primary, and so far there is no Republican challenger.

COUNTY COMMISSIONER

This is the year for a commissioner to be elected in District Three, which includes Pleasant and Cotton Townships. Currently the seat is held by Republican Kenton C. “K.C.” Banta, and he is running unopposed for his party’s nomination for another term. On the Democratic ticket, the primary will feature a three-way race between Evelina Coker Brown, James Dummich, and James Wingate.

COUNTY COUNCIL

In this year’s elections, the four county councilmen who represent specific districts are up for election. There are four councilmen with district ties, while three councilmen are elected “at large” in other election years.

In District One, current councilman Democrat Kenny Griffin is not seeking reelection, and on the Democratic ballot the race will be between Lannie Canada and Tom Conroy. On the Republican ticket, Jeanette Andrew is running against Eric Cole for the party’s spot on the general election ballot.

In District Two, current Democrat office holder Mike Jones is running unopposed in the primary, and there is no Republican on the ballot at this time.

In District Three, current councilman Republican Terry Hall has filed for reelection, and he is unopposed in the primary. He will be challenged in the general election by Democrat George Adams, who was the only member of his party to file for the primary election.

In District Four, current Democrat councilman Don Covington is running unopposed in the primary, and there is no Republican on the ballot at this time.

CIRCUIT COURT JUDGE

The Judge of the Circuit Court has a candidate from each party running in the May primary. On the Democratic ticket, current judge Ted Todd is seeking reelection; while he will be challenged in the November general election by Republican Stephen Tesmer.

PROSECUTING ATTORNEY

The office of prosecuting attorney of the Fifth Judicial Circuit is up for grabs, as current office holding Chris Naylor will not seek reelection. There is a three-way race in the Democratic primary, featuring Chad Lewis, Jason Pattison, and Kristen Vandewater.

There is currently no Republican candidate.

TOWNSHIP TRUSTEE

Each of Switzerland County’s six townships will elect a township trustee in this year’s election.

In Cotton Township, current trustee Democrat Barbara Bowling is unopposed for reelection; and there is currently no Republican challenger.

In Craig Township, current trustee Democrat Anthony “Tony” Jackson is running for reelection; and is unopposed in the primary. There is no Republican candidate at this time.

In Jefferson Township, current trustee Democrat Barbara Ray will be challenged in the primary by Ginny Leap; and Lowell Wayne Sullivan is the lone candidate for the Republican nomination for the trustee’s post.

In Pleasant Township, current trustee Democrat Carolyn Griffin is not seeking reelection, but there will be a contested race for the Republican nomination, as Andrew Jessup will oppose Karen Morton. There is no Democratic candidate at this time.

In Posey Township, the current trustee is Republican Robert Jackman. He is unopposed in the primary election; but will face Democrat Chris See in the general election in November.

The race for York Township Trustee will be an interesting one, where current trustee Clifford “Kip” Hatton, who has served as a Republican, will now run as a Democrat in this year’s primary. He will be challenged in the general election by Republican Beverly Stoops.

TOWNSHIP BOARD MEMBERS

Each of the township trustees has a three-member board that assists them. Here are the candidates for those positions.

In Cotton Township: Democrats Lowell McCreary, Brenda Shaw; Republican Rita Works.

In Craig Township: Democrat Lynda Spiller and Republican Roberta VonBargen.

In Jefferson Township: Democrats Pauline Johnson, Roberta Scudder, and Carol Ann Sublett.

In Pleasant Township: Democrat Tina Wingate; Republicans Donald Morton, Robert Richards, and Donald Tinker.

In Posey Township: Democrats Lulu Thomas and Mark Jones; Republican Jill Hutcherson.

In York Township: Democrats Michael Beatty, Earl Holmes, and Larry Turner; Republican Shannon Jackson.

PARTY COMMITTEEMEN

Each political party also elects a slate of Precinct Committeemen to assist in party decisions and for other functions. Those office holders are elected. Here’s look at those positions:

Democrats: Don Covington, Cotton I; George Adams, Craig I; Joe Spiller, Craig II; Hilbert Scudder, Jefferson II; James Wingate, Pleasant I; Craig Bond, Posey I; Joan Armstrong, Posey II; Zachary Brogan, York I.

Republicans: David Reed, Cotton II; Russell VonBargen, Craig II; Kirk Works, Jefferson I; Johnny Andrew, Jefferson II; Robert Richards, Pleasant I; Jill Hutcherson, Posey II; Deborah Stewart, York I.

STATE CONVENTION DELEGATES

Each political party also elects members to represent Switzerland County at the State Convention. Filing on the Republican ticket to serve as a State Convention delegate are Willa Phipps and Deborah Stewart.

SCHOOL BOARD

In one change, the Switzerland County School Board will hold its election during the November General Election. School board seats have been elected during the primary in the past, but the school board chose to move to the fall because of the increased voter turnout.

There will be three seats up for election in November: the Craig Township seat currently held by Jack Ranz; the Jefferson Township seat currently held by Andy Truitt; and the Posey Township seat currently held by Laurice See.

Those members elected will begin four year terms in January of 2007.

VOTING REGULATIONS

County Clerk Ginger Peters said that there are some changes in the county for this year.

Voters in Craig I precinct will now vote at the Switzerland County 4-H Community Building.

One big change is that those who want to vote will be required to show a photo ID that has been issued by the U.S. Government before being allowed to vote. These IDs include a driver’s license; a passport; or a military ID.

Those having questions about this policy should contact the clerk’s office at 427-3175.

Applications for those wanting to vote by absentee ballot began on February 1st; and those wanting to register to vote should contact the clerk’s office.

Voter registration will end on Monday, April 3rd.

“Anyone who has moved or changed their name needs to come into the clerk’s office and update their registration,” Clerk Peters said.