January 1, Letcher County will have an entirely new fiscal court and nearly an entirely new courthouse.
There will be a new judge/executive, five new magistrates, a new property valuation administrator (PVA), a new circuit clerk, and a new sheriff. Only the circuit and district judges, the county surveyor, county attorney, coroner, commonwealth’s attorney and the county clerk will remain. County Clerk Winston Meade was the only one of those with opposition, and one judge was not up for reelection.
District 2 Magistrate Terry Adams, a Republican, defeated Judge/ Executive Jim Ward, who was running for re-election to a fourth term, by a vote of 4,341 to 3,837, according to unofficial returns. Ward lost 23 of the 30 precincts and the absentee ballots. Most of the precincts Ward won were in the Fifth Magisterial District.
Only one magistrate sought reelection. District 1 Magistrate Bobby Howard, a Democrat, lost to Republican Jack Banks 1,283 to 706.
In District 2, Democrat Sherry Sexton won by 675 votes to 647 for Republican Brad Collie.
Republican Maverick Cook won the District 3 race with 905 votes against a surprisingly strong writein challenge. Debbie Collier, who filed as a write-in candidate after the Democratic nominee was arrested and withdrew from the race, earned 698 write-in votes. A second write-in candidate, Bobby Webb, drew only 33 votes.
In District 4, Democrat William “Cheddy” Smith won the magistrate’s seat with 952 votes to 679 for Republican Kenny Whitehead.
In District 5, Bennie McCall was unopposed, but gained 1,060 votes.
In the sheriff ’s race, Circuit Court bailiff Mickey Stines, a Democrat, defeated Chief Deputy Barry Engle by a vote of 4,484 to 2,952. Engle was running as an Independent. Republican D.L. Hammonds pulled 764 votes.
Republicans across the board benefitted from straight-ticket voters. Totals were not available at press time, but in a sampling of precincts checked Tuesday night, Republicans voted straightparty about three times as often as Democrats.
In the PVA race, incumbent Richard Brown, who was appointed when PVA Randy Hall died, and longtime PVA employee Rick Rose, who had been Hall’s deputy for more than 20 years, fought a close race. With only one precinct left to report, Rose was ahead by only 40 votes, but when the last votes were counted, he had won by 110.
The final count was 4,058 for Rose to 3,948 for Brown.
In the circuit clerk’s race, Democrat Mike Watts, a retired court designated worker and son of the late Ruben Watts, a former judge/executive, won easily over Janet Ratliff, a longtime deputy to Margaret Nichols, who retired last year after nearly 30 years in office. Watts received 5,455 votes to Ratliff ’s 2,652.
In the county clerk’s race, veteran clerk Winston Meade, a Democrat, won easily with 6,254 votes to Republican Hatler Kiser’s 1,634.
There were several non-partisan races on the ballot also. In city races, Whitesburg Mayor James W. Craft was unopposed for reelection and received 463 votes. Whitesburg City Council candidates and their votes were:
Derek Barto – 267
Della B. Eldridge – 199
Larry D. Everidge – 362
Mike Jackson – 341
Shelia Page Shortt – 259
John L. Pellegrini – 323
Robin Bowen-Watko – 257
Earlene Williams-Cornett –
Eddie Bentley – 207
The top six, Everidge, Jackson,
Cornett, Pellegrini, Barto and
Shortt, will serve on the council.
In Neon, Mayor Susie Polis
was unopposed and received 153
votes. Only two people ran for the
six open council seats, with two
write in candidates in addition.
All will serve.
James D. Collins – 136
Linda Cantrell – 149
WRITE IN- Virgie “Susie”
Fleming – 17
WRITE IN- Joseph King – 16
In Jenkins, , longtime District
Five Magistrate Wayne Fleming,
who did not seek re-election,
lost his race to incumbent Mayor
Todd Depriest by a vote of 360 to
339. The top six vote-getters will
take seats on the council.
Candidates and votes were:
Richard Damron – 398
Sammy Elswick – 455
Lewis Shaun Collier – 279
Chuck Anderson – 409
Garnett Bentley – 319
Rebecca Terrill Amburgey –
Toni Jenkins – 248