Tribune-Courier General Manager
As the clock ticked toward the 4 p.m. filing deadline last Tuesday for the May 2014 primary, a number of surprise candidates emerged in quest of local offices.
The Marshall County Clerk’s office processed 10 candidates on Tuesday, rounding out the field of contenders from the Democratic and Republican tickets for the race.
Independent candidates have until April 1 to have their names included on the ballot.
A political newcomer with a name unfamiliar to most in Marshall County filed at the last minute on Tuesday afternoon to oppose 10-term incumbent Mike Miller for the post of County Judge Executive.
Republican candidate Kevin Neal is seeking the post held by Miller for the past 40 years. If history is an indication, Neal will have his work cut out for him.
According to Marshall County Clerk Tim York, Miller has never been defeated in any voting precinct in Marshall County in the past nine elections in which he has run for the county’s top office.
The 2014 election marks the fifth time Miller will face opposition. He has handily defeated each of those opposing candidates. The last to oppose Miller was Michael Gordon (R) in 2006.
The 68-year-old Miller is the longest-serving county judge executive in Kentucky history.
In a press release Neal said he is seeking the office to help “rebuild confidence in government.”
“As someone who has been dedicated to his country, community and family, I want to see Marshall County grow in a way other area communities have grown so we can better provide opportunities for our future generations,” Neal said.
Neal, 42, of Palma, retired from an active duty career in the U.S. Marine Corps in April 2011 and is set to retire in 2015 from a 15-year law enforcement career. He currently serves as an operations sergeant with the Paducah Police Department.
“I don’t know Mr. Neal, but I’d like to meet him and shake his hand,” said Miller. “I understand he’s a veteran and I’m a veteran too. I respect his service to our country. I welcome the opposition in the race-it’s the American way.”
Others filings last week for county offices include Republican Josh Hendrickson for County Commissioner in District 1. Hendrickson currently serves on the Benton City Council. He will oppose incumbent Bob Gold (D).
Retired Calvert City dentist, Richard Cocke, (D) also filed for Commissioner of District 3. He will oppose Von Puckett (D) in the primary on May 20. The winner of that race will face incumbent Misti Drew (R) in the Nov. general election.
Benton Mayor Steve Cary (D) had many guessing whether or not he would enter the race, but at the last minute on Tuesday he filed papers and will face Rita Dotson (D) to hang onto his post. Dotson, who is currently serving her third term on Benton City Council, had announced her intentions to run for mayor in December.
A complete list of candidates for local offices can be found at tribunecourier.com.