Henderson's County Judge executive Sandy Watkins passed away on August 27, 2010 creating a vacancy for the position. This created a somewhat unique situation in that the person chosen to replace Watkins was District 4 magistrate Hugh McCormick. Why is this a problem and how does Jack Conway fit in?
During the May primary Hugh McCormick faced Democrat Darla Jones for District 4 magistrate and won by 205 votes. Since McCormick was chosen to replace Watkins as County Judge executive this created a vacant ballot for the position of magistrate and therein lies the problem.
Ms Jones was the ONLY candidate running in the primary from either party. No Republican even bothered to run. Nor did any other Democrat. Logically you would think that Jones would have received the nomination of the Democratic party on the November ballot right?
A four member board, of which 2 were husband and wife, voted to place Billy "Butch" Puttman on the ballot instead. Puttman is a friend of all involved and got the nomination even though he never sought the office.
Strangely enough this is where Conway comes in.
According to KRS 118.105(4) If a vacancy occurs in the nomination of an unopposed candidate OR in a nomination made by the primary before the certification of candidates for the regular election, AND if that party's nominee was the only political party candidate for the office sought, the governing authority of each party may nominate a candidate for the regular election, provided that no person has sought that party's nomination by filing a notification and declaration.
That last statement is very telling because in this case only one person DID seek the party nomination filing a notification and declaration and that was Darla Jones.
This is why she should be the one on the ballot.It would seem that the law would basically favor Darla Jones contention that she should be the nominee. Of course that law only applies when it is convenient for elected officials and what they want.
Darla Jones contacted the Secretary of State's office about current law regarding fulfilling vacancies created by this and was informed the AG Conway had the responsibility of interpreting law. Fair enough. But when Ms Jones contacted Conway's office she was basically told that they do not provide OAG interpretations for anyone but lawyers.
Considering this is a point of law that directly affects we the voter, and this is the most basic right we have in America, would it not be prudent to make a ruling now in the interest of time?
Why do we have to force a few thousand dollars to be spent for an attorney to ask the same question a legitimate candidate asked? Seriously, what's the difference?
KRS 118.105 outlines clearly what should happen if a situation like this were to come about and Darla Jones is being left out over politics plain and simple.
As the ONLY candidate running in the primary, on either side against incumbent Hugh McCormick, she is the only one who meets the definition of what KRS 118.105 was intended to accomplish.
Since the law is clearly being ignored it is crucial that AG CONway deal with this issue immediately. He owes it to all of us, not only because it is his job and he is a candidate for a higher office, but in the interest of fairness to not only we the voters, but to the whole electoral process itself.
To ignore this because someone does not spend a few grand making his attorney buddies happy makes a mockery of the electoral process. I must also mention County Attorney Steve Gold had requested an official opinion from Conway, rather than wait for this to become a lawsuit, but from what I understand Conway refused to address the concerns. Why force us to waste time and resources on something that should be ruled on for the betterment of our electoral process? A ruling will simplify the whole situation and negate the necessity for wasted time and money on lawsuits.
More importantly it would help us get some integrity back into the electoral process itself.
I urge each of you to call Conway's office at (502)696-5300 and demand he release an opinion on this matter so we the people can be heard fairly.
I think we deserve that.