Watts tops Fogle for judge; Snellen bests Figg as jailer in primary election results


Tuesday, May 22, 2018 — More than 8,400 Nelson County voters went to the polls Tuesday and cast their votes in the Democratic and Republican primary races.

Voter turnout was a respectable 25.22 percent in Nelson County, which was better than the statewide voter turnout, 21. 84 percent.

INCUMBENTS IN, INCUMBENTS OUT. Incumbent candidates general perform well in a primary election, but Tuesday saw two notable incumbents that won their primary races, and two that lost.

THE WINS. Incumbent Judge Executive Dean Watts outpolled challenger Kenny Fogle, with Watts receiving 56.9 percent of the vote.

Fogle won four of the county’s 24 precincts — E104 Chaplin, B104 OKH Middle, A104 St. Vincent de Paul, New Hope, and A102 New Haven School.

Watts will face Republican challenger Don Thrasher in the November general election.

Incumbent District 3 Magistrate Bernard Ice topped challenger David Call in a landslide with 67.5 percent of the vote. Ice won all five precincts in the 3rd District.

Ice will face Philip Bischoff Jr., the winner of the Republican primary for 3rd District magistrate. Bischoff defeated Selvey Vittitoe by a 74-vote margin.

THE LOSSES. Incumbent Jailer Dorcas Figg lost by a landslide margin to John “Buck” Snellen in a three-way primary race, with Snellen getting more than 53 percent of the vote compared to Figg’s 30 percent and Michael Johnson’s 16.4 percent.

Figg won only two precincts in Nelson County — E104 Chaplin and A101 Howardstown. Snellen won the remaining 22 precincts.

Figg’s loss came after a series of issues that came to light at the jail in the past year, including contraband passing through holes in the jail’s exterior wall and inmates breaking out of their cells. Figg is working to reduce overcrowding at the jail by housing fewer state inmates.

Snellen will face Republican Jim Beery in the general election for jailer later this year.

District 2 incumbent Magistrate Sam Hutchins lost the Democratic primary to Gary Coulter by a close 72-vote margin.

Of the 2nd District’s four precincts, Coulter won one precinct — B104 OKH Middle School — by a 137-vote margin. Hutchins tied Coulter in one precinct (B102 Bardstown First Christian Church), and won the two remaining precincts (B101 Parkway Baptist Church and B103 Nelson County Library) but not by enough votes to overcome Coulter’s vote total in B104.

SHERIFF’S RACE. The three-way primary narrowed the Democratic field to one candidate — Ramon Pineiroa Jr., who won the primary over Kaelen Matthews by a margin of 587 votes and Kenny Downs.

Matthews won five precincts — C105 Boston, D103 Cox’s Creek, A103 New Haven, and C104 and C101, both in Bardstown. Downs won two precincts, E101 Fairfield and E103 Bloomfield.

On the Republican primary for sheriff, Todd Harper handily defeated his primary opponent, Chris Middleton, earning 61.6 percent of the vote. Harper won 22 of the county’s 24 precincts.

Pineiroa and Harper will face off in November.

COUNTY CLERK’S RACE. Jeanette Hall Sidebottom came out on top in her primary race against current deputy clerk Gail Brown, earning more than 58 percent of the vote countywide. Sidebottom won all but two of the precincts in the county.

Sidebottom will face Republican Marion Kelly Pulliam in the November general election.

50TH DISTRICT STATE REP. James DeWeese handily defeated Kory Miller in their primary for 50th District state representative with 73 percent of the vote. DeWeese won every precinct in Nelson County. DeWeese will challenge incumbent Republican state Rep. Chad McCoy in November.

SUPREME COURT RUN-OFF. The top two vote-getters in Tuesday’s three-way state Supreme Court judicial primary will face off in November for a seat representing the 3rd Supreme Court district. Debra Lambert won big in Nelson County, earning 65 percent of the vote in the county and 50 percent statewide. David Tapp, who received 21 percent of the vote in Nelson County, lost the statewide election to Dan Ballou. Ballou and Lambert wil face on in November for the state Supreme Cour seat.


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