By Jeff Noble / Staff Writer
Mike Smith of Gray took an early lead, and expanded it as the votes were continuing to be counted Tuesday night.
As a result, Smith won the Republican primary over incumbent Sheriff John D. Pickard of Barbourville and challenger Darrell Bright of Flat Lick.
In the preliminary results, Smith won the GOP nomination with 3,914 votes, with runner-up Pickard second with 2,789 votes, and Darrell Bright of Flat Lick coming in third with 106 votes.
Smith will face Democrat Kyle Campbell of Barbourville in the November general election. Campbell had no opposition.
After packing a huge lead in the votes cast, incumbent Knox County Judge-Executive J. M. Hall, a Republican, will face Democrat Michael L. Warren this fall, after the two won their respective party’s primary elections Tuesday night.
Hall, a Barbourville resident who is running for his third term as the top executive in Knox County government, bested Darrel Bargo of Gray, and Larry Sizemore of Flat Lick in the GOP primary.
Preliminary results from all 30 precincts and absentee ballots in Knox County show Hall taking the race with 3,895 votes, to Bargo’s 2,274 votes and Sizemore’s 469 votes.
Hall said in the Circuit Court Room of the courthouse, where the votes were counted, that his winning the chance for a third term was a satisfying experience.
“It was just overwhelming. We’ve had a lot of issues with the hospital that we’ve overcome. We’re looking at building a new jail, and we’re about to finish those up. My family, my staff, and my friends have worked hard for me. And so have the people of Knox County. We’ll have a race in the fall, and Knox County’s been good to me. I’m looking forward to a third term,” he pointed out.
Warren, who hails from Barbourville, defeated opponent Dennis Gibson of Bryants Store by a slim margin of 41 votes in the Democratic primary.
Preliminary returns showed Warren winning with 836 votes, to Gibson’s 795 votes.
In the race for Knox County Jailer, incumbent Republican Mary S. Hammons will challenge Democrat Mike Baker in the November 4 general election.
Hammons, of Flat Lick, handily won the Republican primary out of a crowded field of six candidates.
The preliminary totals showed Hammons the winner on the GOP side with 2,433 votes, while Keith “Buster” Liford of Flat Lick came in second with 1,383 votes. In third place was Elbert Mills Jr. of Corbin who got 1,277 votes, with Doug Gibson of Gray fourth at 782 votes. Taking fifth place for the Republicans was Marty Hollin of Gray with 583 votes, while Danny Start of Barbourville finished last with 245 votes.
Hammons hoped the job she’s done as Jailer in the past was the reason she won Tuesday night.
“I try to treat people like they want to be treated. I’ve tried to save the Jailer’s Office money, I’ve given the inmates educational opportunities and got them involved in the GED program, as well as substance abuse programs. A lot of hard work and a good staff have paid off to get this nomination tonight. I’m looking ahead to November, and I’ll go to the people and ask for their trust and support,” she said.
Baker, of Barbourville, got the nod on the Democratic side as he defeated challenger Clyde Trent, Jr., also of Barbourville.
Preliminary results show Baker got his party’s nomination with 945 votes, to Trent’s 607 votes.
As for the county’s five Magisterial districts, Districts 1, 2, 3 and 4 had primary elections Tuesday.
Here’s how the preliminary results came out:
For District 1 Magistrate, Billy Ray Smith of Gray defeated William Garland of Cannon on the Republican side in a close race. Smith finished first with 757 votes to Garland’s 706 votes. Smith will face incumbent Carson Gilbert of Barbourville in November. Gilbert, a Democrat, was unopposed in his party’s primary.
For District 2 Magistrate, incumbent Keith Abner of Barbourville defeated five other candidates to win the Republican primary. Abner’s 439 votes was first on the GOP side, with Michael D. Eversole of Hinkle second at 354 votes. Paul Carmack of Bimble came in third with 222 votes, while Wayne Hall of Dewitt was fourth at 205 votes. Travis Hubbard of Flat Lick was fifth with 193 votes, with Randall Slusher of Flat Lick finishing last with 156 votes.
Abner will face Democrat Stacey Roark of Flat Lick in November. Roark was unopposed in his party’s primary.
Meanwhile, for District 3 Magistrate, Incumbent Jerry “Rabbit” Cox of Flat Lick took the Republican primary in stride, beating three other GOP candidates.
Cox came in first with 693 votes, while Jimmy Walters of Barbourville came in second with 374 votes. John W. Bays of Artemus was third at 171 votes, while Ray Queener of Barbourville brining up the rear at 49 votes.
Since no Democrats filed to run in Tuesday’s primary, Cox will move on to November, and barring any major write-in opposition, wins the seat.
There will definitely be a race in November for District 4 Magistrate.
Democrat John “Dugger” Ferguson of Barbourville won his party’s primary, getting 279 votes to beat challenger John Barger of Barbourville, who pulled in 159 votes.
Ferguson will face Republican Jason Lake of Barbourville, who beat out four other GOP candidates in their primary. Lake was the winner with 535 votes, while Lonnie “Peanut” Williamson of Barbourville finished second at 303 votes. Jay “Joker” Parker of Barbourville finished third with 158 votes, with Bob Gray of Barbourville coming in fourth at 73 votes. Finishing last was Judy Brock of Barbourville, who got 52 votes.
The winner of the race between Republican Lake and Democrat Ferguson in November will become the new Magistrate in District 4.
Incumbent Pat McDonald, a Democrat, did not file for re-election earlier this year.
There was no primary race for Magistrate in District 5. That’s because the incumbent, Giulio Cima of Corbin, was the only Republican to file on the May ballot. Since the Democrats did not field a candidate in for their primary, and barring any major challenge from a write-in candidate, Cima is all but assured another term as District 5 Magistrate.
Smith surprise winner in Sheriff’s primary
By Jeff Noble / Staff Writer
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