Jan. 29—Filings for the primary elections in the commonwealth ended Tuesday, with McLean County seeing 17 candidates vying for the positions of judge-executive and sheriff, among others.
The judge-executive race will feature two Republicans — incumbent Curtis Lynn Dame, who is seeking his second term and challenger Erica L. Tapp, meaning the May primary will decide who will take on the role as the county's highest elected position.
Dame, 33, of Rumsey took office in November 2019 and feels that the county has overcome many hurdles such as pension issues and utility fixtures.
And with the progress being made, Dame is hopeful to continue to serve the county through getting future projects completed to address said issues, while also keeping the county in solvent financial condition while continuing to practice transparency with the citizens.
"We're to the point now (where) I feel like the citizens can go to bed or go to sleep at night knowing that we will be here tomorrow," Dame stated. "That was not the case a few years ago."
Tapp, also 33, of Elba, is a graduate of Apollo High School and has received associate degrees in paramedic science and agriculture from Owensboro Community and Technical College, a bachelor's degree in general agriculture and master's degree in agriculture education from Western Kentucky University.
Tapp currently is employed as an ag teacher at Owensboro Catholic High School and has been with McLean County's ambulance service since 2017 while also taking a volunteer firefighter role with Western District/Beech Grove Fire Department since 2019, which is one of her key focuses she plans to address if elected.
"(With) the low cost of our ambulance service provides for our people here in this community and all the good that they do for our community, I feel like they really need to be focused on a little bit more to make sure that they have everything that they need, they are staffed adequately; the staff is getting paid a rate that's at least competitive with what the other counties around us are paying," Tapp said. "...It's stuff that I see is lacking for that service."
The county's sheriff race is currently between Republican incumbent Kenneth Frizzell and Democrat Todd Wilkerson.
Frizzell, 41, of Sacramento is currently seeking his third term.
Frizzell is going on 19 years with the sheriff's office, where he has worked in a number of capacities such as a chief deputy, K-9 officer and patrolman. If elected, one of Frizzell's goals is to continue to combat criminal and drug issues.
"Drugs are our number one problem in this county. ...A lot of people talk about drugs being a victimless crime — that's not true. The person themselves is a victim, their family falls victim ..., and society," Frizzell said. "Most of our thefts and then other crimes stem from ... drug use. I feel like if we can put that down quite a bit, we'll reduce a lot of other issues."
Wilkerson, 49, of Livermore automatically advances to the general election due to nobody else filing in the Democratic primary.
Wilkerson has been a lifelong county resident, graduating from McLean County High School in 1990 and has over 20 years of law enforcement experience, including his time with McLean County Sheriff's Office and Owensboro Police Department before retiring from the latter in September 2020.
Some of Wilkerson's plans if elected include having adequate patrol in all county communities, meeting with judges and prosecutors on a regular basis and focus on the presence of deputies inside county schools to ensure safety for students.
"After being reached (out to) by a lot of people, ...it's something that I decided that I still have a lot of drive and a lot of passion for," Wilkerson said. "I thought it would be a great way, with the experience that I have, to be able to give back to my county."
Additional election fields for the county include Democrat incumbent Matt Hayden, 57, of Beech Grove along with Republican opponents Luie Whitaker, 67, of Calhoun and Stephen Ayer, 44, of Calhoun for Northwest Magistrate. Whitaker and Ayer will compete for the Republican spot for the general election against Hayden.
All other magistrate positions are running unopposed — Republican incumbent Joseph Lowery, 40, of Sacramento for Southwest Magistrate, Republican incumbent Clay Troutman, 71, of Calhoun for Northeast Magistrate and Democrat incumbent Robert Bishop, 47, of Island for Southeast Magistrate.
Other candidates that are running unopposed in the primary election include Democrat incumbent Donna M. Dant, 62, of Calhoun for county attorney, Democrat incumbent Carol Eaton, 54 of Island for county clerk, Democrat incumbent Dale W. Ayer, 62, of Calhoun for PVA, Democrat incumbent John W. Muster IV, 74, of Calhoun for coroner, Republican incumbent Chris Ellis, 45, of Sacramento for jailer, Republican candidate Mark Badertscher, 57, of Calhoun for Northwest Constable and Democrat incumbent Johnny Vandiver, 79, of Island for Southeast Constable.
There are no candidates running for Northeast or Southwest Constables.