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Primary Election will be cancelled

By BOB HANSEN - bhansen@newsexaminer.com

With a list of candidates that includes no competition, Connersville’s May 7 Primary Election has been cancelled.

Rosemary Brown, city clerk-treasurer, looked back in her records on Friday and found that the 2015 Primary Election cost the city $23,548. That’s almost enough to buy another police car, she said.

Candidates had until noon Friday to file for a place on the Primary Election ballot. In the primary, voters in the two major parties choose their candidates for the fall election. Filing had been slow ever since it started a month earlier, with none registering on Thursday or Friday.

That means the Republican Party has candidates for mayor, clerk-treasurer and six of seven City Council seats. The Democratic Party has candidates for mayor and three council spots. They will face off in the Municipal Election on Nov. 5.

State law says that there is no need to have a Primary Election if none of the candidates face opposition, Lisa Mays Witt, Fayette County’s chief elections official, said. If either one of the county party chairmen ask for an election by noon Friday, Feb. 15, it would still be conducted. But that seems unlikely.

“I don’t see why they’d want to spend that kind of money,” Tim Rose, Fayette County Democratic Party chair, said on Friday afternoon. He confirmed that he would not be requesting an election. 

The Republican Party county chairwoman, Vivian Himelick, said she sees no reason for having a Primary Election.

People don’t realize all the expense of an election, Rose said. Pollworkers must be paid, ballots printed, voting machines programmed and, in some cases, voting places must be rented.

Rose said that in his 15 years as county chairman, he does not remember another election year without a primary.

The Fayette County Election Board will meet at 10 a.m. Thursday in the county clerk’s office in the courthouse, 401 Central Ave.

Republican candidates include Chad Frank, mayor; Rosemary Risch Brown, clerk-treasurer; Clarence Werner, council District 1; Jennifer E. Barrett, District 2; William “Bill” Gray, District 4; David Nutty, District 5; and Diana Phillips and Mike Bishop, both at-large.

Democratic candidates include Harold Gordon, mayor; Connie Durham, council District 1; Debbie Montgomery, District 3; and Christopher Lephew, at-large.

State law gives both county chairs until June 30 to fill any spot on the ballot that was not filled in a primary. Himelick said she might have a candidate  to run in the fall election for City Council District 3.

Third-party and independent candidates can still get on the fall ballot. They have until July 1 to register at the county clerk’s office. Write-in candidates have until July 3.

If the past is any guide, the fall election won’t cost as much as the primary would have. Brown said the 2015 Municipal Election cost the city $16,400.