Candidate withdraws one week before vote

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By John Shindlebower

A long, contentious and bizarre election season is about to come to an end as voters head to the polls next Tuesday, but not before one last surprise move was made this past week.
Spencer County Coroner Danny Hilbert, who was running unopposed, officially withdrew from the race, citing health reasons, according to Spencer County Clerk Lynn Hesselbrock.
The withdrawal was filed on Monday, October 22. On Thursday, Katie O’Grady, 25, filed her paperwork to be the lone write-in candidate for the position. Hesselbrock said O’Grady’s filing paperwork indicated she has a degree in forensic pathology and is employed by Jewish Hospital at Shelbyville. Hesselbrock said because Hilbert officially withdrew, his votes will not be counted, even though his name will continue to be on the ballot.
Hesselbrock said absentee voting is up about 30 percent over last May’s primary, and said she hopes that’s an indication of improved turnout for the general election.
“I think people are engaged. They’re pretty aware of who they are voting for and they are not asking many questions when they come in, (for absentee voting)” she said.
In addition to candidates for county, state and national office, Kentucky voters will also be asked to vote on a state Constitutional Amendment, even though a judge’s ruling leaves questions as to whether the results will be certified.
Franklin Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate earlier this month ruled that the wording of “Marcy’s Law” question on the ballot was too vague and did not adequately explain what voters would be granting if the measure was past. Marcy’s Law concerns victim’s right. The wording on the ballot is as follows:
“Are you in favor of providing constitutional rights to the victims of crime, including the right to be treated fairly, with dignity and respect, and the right to be informed and have a voice in the judicial process?”
The Association for Criminal Defense Lawyers filed a suit in August challenging the wording, and Wingate sided with them. However, the ruling is being appealed. The votes will be counted, and if Wingate’s decision is overturned, then the votes may be certified.
Of local interest, will be local races, including a four-way battle for county judge-executive. Republican incumbent John Riley narrowly won a four-person primary in May, and will be trying to hold off Democrat Bobby Smith, along with two write-in candidates, which include Buddy Stump, who lost in the primary in his bid for re-election as sheriff, and Lawrence Trageser.
Contested races are also being held for Taylorsville mayor, two magistrate seats, sheriff, jailer, state senate, state house, school board and judicial races.
For a complete look at the ballot you’ll find in the booth next Tuesday, see page A15.