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Johnston, Lewis win big, Hartford Council race ends with tie

In Local, News by Lee Bratcher

By Lee Bratcher/OC Monitor

HARTFORD, Ky. — At the end of the November 2018 General Election, many things in Ohio County stayed the same, while in Beaver Dam, and especially Hartford, there were several changes, one of which could lead to a coin flip.

We’ll begin with what remained the same in Ohio County, which includes most county government races.

Republican incumbent David Johnston will serve as Ohio County’s Judge-Executive for a third term. Johnston defeated his challenger Democrat Brandon Thomas, by winning 65 percent of the vote to Thomas’ 35 percent of the vote. This is the second time Johnston and Thomas have squared off in the judge-executive race. In 2014, Johnston captured 60 percent of the vote.

“I’m just humbled by the response of the people in this county and their confidence,” Johnston said.

When asked what he hoped to accomplish in his third term, Johnston said there were “several” things, but he mentioned two goals specifically.

“I want to develop a road plan and get it adopted by the court,” Johnston said. “And we want to get some sort of protection for property owners, so they can enjoy their property. That’s two of my big goals right there.”

In the race for Ohio County Jailer, a race many believe was the most heated this year, Republican incumbent Gerry “Rip” Wright defeated his opponent Democrat Aaron Howard. Wright won 64 percent of the popular vote, while Howard won 36 percent of the vote.

While both First District Magistrate Sam Small and Fourth District Magistrate Larry Keown had no opponent for the General Election, the magistrate’s seat was up for grabs in the Second, Third and Fifth District.

In the Second District, Democratic incumbent Jason Bullock received 64 percent of the vote, which was enough to defeat Republican candidate, Dwight Raymond, who received 36 percent. Bullock will serve his third term on the court.

In the Third District, much like 2014, the race was much closer.

Incumbent Democrat Joe Barnes defeated his Republican opponent, Marty Tichenor, by just 16 votes. Barnes received 928 votes, or 50.43 percent and Tichenor received 912 votes, or 49.57 percent of the votes. In the 2014 race for Third District Magistrate, Barnes defeated his opponent Jason Burden by just 13 votes. This will be Barnes second term on the fiscal court.

In the Fifth District, incumbent Republican Larry Morphew was able to hold on to his seat on the fiscal court by defeating Democrat Jack Payton by receiving 72 percent of the votes. Payton received 28 percent. This will be Morphew’s second term on the fiscal court.

The Ohio County Fiscal Court, which had a chance to have three new magistrates and a new judge-executive, will stay the same as the last four years. However, both Beaver Dam and Hartford city governments will have significant changes beginning in January 2019.

The Beaver Dam City Commission lost one of its incumbents as 22-year city commissioner Keith Dale came up short in tonight’s election. Incumbents Sandy Robinson, Kevin Davis and Charles Patton all finished in the top four vote-getters, while James Crump outpaced Dale by 52 votes to secure the fourth seat on the city commission. Fred Welborn finished last in today’s ace of six.

Crump ran for city commission in 2014, but finished fifth out of five candidates and 91 votes behind the fourth place finisher, Dale.

Beaver Dam Mayor Paul Sandefur had no opponent in either the Primary Election or today’s election, ensuring he will get another term.

Nine candidates ran for Hartford City Council, with only two of those being incumbents. The top six vote-getters will be on the council in January. At the end of the night, the city council will have four new members for sure, and possibly a fifth, depending on a coin flip. Yes, a coin flip.

The top five vote-getters on the night were incumbent Jerry Likens and newcomers Kenny Desmond, Tony Renfrow, Mary Belle Fisher and David Coleman. Fisher, while newly elected, has served on the city council in the past.

Here’s where the coin flip may come into play, both Eric Smith and incumbent Tony Ward received 335 votes, a tie for sixth in votes. If neither candidate asks for a recount or if a recount doesn’t break the tie, then it is believed the decision will be made by coin flip, according to county clerk Bess Ralph

Current Hartford City Council members Jodi Ashby and Cydnee Cook didn’t run for re-election because both will soon be moving out of the city of Hartford. Also, long time city council member Jerry Scoggins will retire at the end of his current term.

In the race for Hartford Mayor, Hartford residents decided to stick with incumbent George Chinn, though it was a tight race. Chinn beat his opponent James Vincent by just 29 votes, 375 to 346.

Both state races affecting Ohio County were of particular interest because two of the candidates have close ties to the county.

In the race for State Senate in the 6th District, Republican incumbent C.B. Embry was elected to another term in Frankfort, as he defeated his Democratic opponent Crystal Chappell. In Ohio County, Embry secured 78 percent of the vote to Chappell’s 22 percent.

As he did in Ohio County, Embry won in Hopkins, Muhlenberg and Butler County, all of which, with Ohio County, make up the 6th District. Embry got 27,139 total votes in the district, while Chappell received 13,217 votes.

In the past, Embry, who will serve his second term on the state senate, served terms as Beaver Dam Mayor and Ohio County Judge-Executive. Embry now lives in Morgantown.

In the other state race affecting the county, Ohio County Schools Superintendent Scott Lewis (R) will be the new State Representative in the 14th District. Lewis received 79 percent of the Ohio County vote, while his opponent Elizabeth Belcher (D) got 21 percent of the vote. Eastern Daviess County, which is also in the 14th District, also went big for Lewis as he received 5,328 votes to Belcher’s 3,111. District wide, Lewis received 11,757 votes to Belcher’s 4,836.

Lewis will take over for current 14th District Representative Matt Castlen, who, after only one term, decided to run for State Senate in the 8th District and not to seek re-election in the 14th District.

In Ohio County’s only federal race, the race for United States Representative in the 1st Congressional District, incumbent James Comer (R) easily defeated his opponent Paul Walker (D). Comer received 74 percent of the county’s vote and Walker received only 26 percent.

Statewide, the results were largely the same. The Associated Press called Comer as the winner of the 1st Congressional District very early in the evening.

In other county races, Tracy Crume (R) will be the new County Surveyor, as he beat incumbent Democrat Gerald Ward. Crume received 62 percent of the vote, while Ward received 38 percent of the vote.

In the constable races, starting with the First District, Democratic incumbent Dickie Gibson was defeated by his Republican opponent, Joe Renfrow. Renfrow secured 64 percent of the First District’s votes and Gibson received 36 percent.

In the Second District Constable race, Republican incumbent Orville Baize won another term, defeating Democrat Larry Hulette. Baize got 67 percent of the votes to Hulette’s 33 percent.

In the race for Centertown Mayor, Terry Kessinger defeated Chrissy Vance after receiving 57 percent of the vote to Vance’s 43 percent. In the race for Centertown City Commission, since the top four vote-getters are elected, Andy McIntyre, Vic Daugherty, Grace Bishop and Stephen Gwynn were all elected, as they were the only candidates.

Fordsville will keep its current mayor for another term, as Joan Edge was the only candidate in the race. In the race for Fordsville City Commission, much like Centertown, top four vote-getters are elected and only four ran for election. James Dalton, Robert Driver, Richard Smith and Charles Mattingly will all be on the city commission in January.

When it came to the constitutional amendment on Marsy’s Law, Ohio County voted No by 269 votes. Yes received 48 percent of the vote and No received 52 percent.

At the end of the night 8,326 voters turned out in Ohio County out of 17,941 registered voters for a 46.41 percent turnout.

Below are the unofficial vote totals for each race in Ohio County, including those races with only one candidate with the winners in bold.


As of this writing, Ohio County results and totals including 29 of 35 counties reporting.

James R. COMER (R) – 5,888 – 74% – TOTAL – 129,705 – 68%
Paul WALKER (D) – 2,071 – 26% – TOTAL – 59,515 – 31%

STATE SENATOR – 6th Senatorial District

Ohio County results and totals include Muhlenberg, Butler, and Hopkins counties.

C.B. EMBRY JR. (R) – 6,327 – 76% – TOTAL – 27,139 – 67%
Crystal CHAPPELL (D) – 1,836 – 22% – TOTAL – 13,217 – 33%

STATE REPRESENTATIVE – 14th Representative District

Ohio County results and totals include Eastern Daviess County precinct.

Scott LEWIS (R) – 6,429 – 79% – TOTAL – 11,757 – 70%
Elizabeth M BELCHER (D) – 1,725 – 21% – TOTAL – 4,836 – 30%

COMMONWEALTH’S ATTORNEY – 38th Judicial Circuit

Blake Ross CHAMBERS (R) – 6,200 – 100%


Shannon Boling KIRTLEY (R) – 5,665 – 100%


Jason S. CHINN (D) – 5,658 – 100%


David JOHNSTON (R) – 5,366 – 65%
Brandon THOMAS (D) – 2,838 – 35%


Justin S. KEOWN (D) – 5,687 – 100%


Bess Tichenor RALPH (D) – 5,942 – 100%


Tracy BEATTY (R) – 6,707 – 100%


Aaron Lee HOWARD (R) – 2,899 – 36%
Gerry “Rip” WRIGHT (D) – 5,166 – 64%


Elvis DOOLIN (R) – 6,497 – 100%


William T. CRUME (R) – 4,748 – 62%
Gerald D. WARD (D) – 2956 – 38%

MAGISTRATE – 1st Magisterial District

Sam SMALL (D) – 1,032 – 100%

CONSTABLE – 1st Magisterial District

Joe RENFROW (R) – 940 – 64%
Leslie R. “Dickie” GIBSON (D) – 535 – 36%

MAGISTRATE – 2nd Magisterial District

Dwight RAYMOND (R) – 594 – 36%
Jason W. BULLOCK (D) – 1,034 – 64%

CONSTABLE – 2nd Magisterial District

Orville BAIZE (R) – 1,036 – 67%
Larry HULETTE (D) – 515 – 33%

MAGISTRATE – 3rd Magisterial District

Marty TICHENOR (R) – 912 – 49.5%
Joe BARNES (D) – 928 – 50.4%

CONSTABLE – 3rd Magisterial District

Jonathan Lee JAMES (R) – 1,396 – 100%

MAGISTRATE – 4th Magisterial District

Larry KEOWN (R) – 1,194 – 100%

CONSTABLE – 4th Magisterial District

Justin COOPER (R) – 1,188 – 100%

MAGISTRATE – 5th Magisterial District

Larry W. MORPHEW (R) – 1,176 – 72%
Jack PAYTON (D) – 455 – 28%

CONSTABLE – 5th Magisterial District

Josh WRIGHT (R) – 1,343 – 100%

CIRCUIT JUDGE – 38th Judicial Circuit (non-partisan)

Timothy R. Coleman – 4,988 – 100%

DISTRICT JUDGE – 38th Judicial District – 1st Division (non-partisan)

J.B. Hines – 4,720 – 100%

DISTRICT JUDGE – 38th Judicial District – 2nd Division (non-partisan)

John M. McCARTY – 4,886 – 100%

MEMBER BOARD of EDUCATION – 2nd Educational District (non-partisan)

Jeff Evans – 938 – 100%

MEMBER BOARD of EDUCATION – 5th Educational District (non-partisan)

Elizabeth “Beth” LUNSFORD – 889 – 100%

MAYOR – City of Beaver Dam (non-partisan)

Paul Sandefur – 799 – 100%

CITY COMMISSIONERS – City of Beaver Dam – Vote for up to four (non-partisan)

James I. CRUMP – 495 – 15%
Sandy JOHNSON-ROBINSON – 749 – 23%
Fred WELBORN – 350 – 11%
Charles W. Patton – 668 – 21%
Keith T. DALE – 443 – 14%
Kevin DAVIS – 527 – 16%

MAYOR – City of Centertown (non-partisan)

Terry KESSINGER – 81 – 57%
Chrissy D. VANCE – 62 – 43%

CITY COMMISSIONERS – City of Centertown – Vote up to four (non-partisan)

Andy W. McINTYRE – 92 – 25%
Vic DAUGHERTY – 87 – 24%
Grace BISHOP – 112 – 31%
Stephen Douglas GWYNN – 75 – 20%

MAYOR – City of Fordsville (non-partisan)

Beatrice Joan EDGE – 70 – 100%

CITY COMMISSIONERS – City of Fordsville – Vote up to four (non-partisan)

James DALTON – 47 – 23%
Robert H. Driver – 39 – 19%
Richard W. Smith – 45 – 22%
Charles Mattingly – 73 – 36%

MAYOR – City of Hartford (non-partisan)

James VINCENT – 346 – 48%
George CHINN – 375 – 52%

CITY COUNCIL – City of Hartford – Vote for up to six (non-partisan)

*Eric G. SMITH – 335 – 10.7% – TIE*
Kenneth “Kenny” DESMOND – 373 – 11.9%
*Tony WARD – 335 – 10.7% – TIE*
David C. COLEMAN – 343 – 10.9%
Tony RENFROW – 350 – 11.2%
David HENDERSON – 285 – 9.1%
Jeff MARTIN – 305 – 9.7%
Mary Belle FISHER – 345 – 11%
Jerry LIKENS – 453 – 14.5%

Should a recount be requested and also result in a tie, the tie will be broken with a coin flip.

MAYOR – City of McHenry

None filed to run

CITY COMMISSIONERS – City of McHenry – Vote for up to four (non-partisan)

None filed to run

MAYOR – City of Rockport (non-partisan)

Robert D. HARRIS – 63 – 100%

CITY COMMISSIONERS – City of Rockport – Vote for up to four (non-partisan)

None filed to run

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