The race for Letcher County coroner has been the most highly contested in the May Primary Election to be held here next Tuesday (May 17).
Two Democrats and three Republicans filed to run for coroner after Marty Baker resigned from office last September. They are:
• Democrat Perry M. Fowler, of Whitesburg, who was appointed coroner by Letcher County Judge/ Executive Jim Ward after Baker’s resignation.
• Democrat Renee Campbell, of Jeremiah, who lost to Baker by only 29 votes in the 2014 November General Election.
• Republican Roy Everett “Big E” Duncan, of McRoberts, who served as deputy coroner with Baker for Baker’s last four years.
• Scott Helle, of Whitesburg, and Elijah Davis, of Jenkins, who are also Republican candidates.
Another race being talked about is the one for 94th District State Representative. The seat is now held by Democrat Leslie
Combs, the Pikeville Democrat who created chaos when she withdrew her nomination papers just a few hours before the filing deadline last winter.
Among those who rushed to Frankfort to get their filing papers submitted on time were Letcher County residents Angie Hatton, a Democrat, and Republican Colin Fultz. Isom resident Wesley Doughman had already filed to run as a Republican before Combs dropped out.
The seat now held by Combs includes all of Letcher County and a part of Pike County, including the City of Pikeville.
Hatton is assistant Letcher County Attorney. Doughman is a former member of the Letcher County Board of Education and a former probation and parole officer. Fultz, of Camp Branch, is the owner of several businesses, including the Kentucky Mist Moonshine distillery in Whitesburg and Black Energy at Mayking.
Four candidates from Pike County are also running for the seat. The Democrat candidates from Pike County are former State Rep. Ira Edsel Branham and pharmacist Joel Thornbury.
The Republican candidates from Pike County are former Pikeville Mayor Frank D. Justice II and Pikeville attorney Charles Phillip Wheeler.
Republican candidates for representative for the 5th Congressional District are incumbent Harold “Hal” Rogers and John Burk Jr.
Seven candidates are on the Democrat ballot for the United States Senate seat held by Republican Rand Paul. They are: Tom Recktenwald, Grant T. Short, Sellus Wilder, Jim Gray, Rory Houlihan, Jeff Kender and Ron Leach.
Paul is being opposed by two Republicans — Stephen Howard Slaughter and James R. Gould.
Democrat candidates for President of the United States whose names will appear on the ballot in Letcher County are Martin J. O’Malley, Bernard “Bernie” Sanders, Hillary Clinton and Roque Rocky De La Fuente.
Republican voters in Letcher County and elsewhere in Kentucky have already nominated Donald Trump as their candidate for president. That selection came in March during a “caucus” vote held at the request of Senator Paul, then still seeking his party’s nomination for president.
Polls open in Letcher County at 6 a.m. next Tuesday and close at 6 p.m.