Regional races: Damron wins in Democratic primary for Jessamine judge-executive's seat

gkocher1@herald-leader.comMay 20, 2014 

  • George Dean

    Born: Feb. 21, 1948

    Residence: Nicholasville

    Education: Bachelor's degree, University of Kentucky

    Occupation: Beef cattle farmer

    Elected office: Magistrate on Jessamine Fiscal Court, 1994-present

    Family: Single

    Web site: ElectDean2014.com

  • Bob Damron

    Born: June 20, 1954

    Residence: Nicholasville

    Education: Bachelor's degree and MBA, University of Kentucky

    Occupation: Investment banker for Southwest Securities Inc.

    Elected office: Kentucky House, 1993-present

    Family: Wife, Paula; one grown son

    Website: BobDamron.com

Veteran state lawmaker Bob Damron defeated longtime fiscal court magistrate George Dean to win Tuesday's Democratic primary for Jessamine County judge-executive.

Damron, 59, has been a state representative since 1993, but he decided to run for the county's top administrative post rather than seek re-election to the state House. The Nicholasville resident said his background in finance made him a better candidate to oversee the county budget.

Dean, 66, a Jessamine Fiscal Court magistrate since 1994, countered that his experience and familiarity with the county made him the more qualified candidate.

The primary race was polite and good-natured until the final days, when each candidate accused the other in television ads of seeking the judge-executive's office to boost his pension.

"Hopefully we can just put this behind us," Damron said.

Damron will face Nicholasville funeral-home co-owner and operator David K. West, a Republican, in the Nov. 4 general election.

The winner of that election will succeed Neal Cassity, 75, who has been judge-executive since 1990. Cassity decided not to run for re-election.

Cassity's successor will oversee a rapidly growing county that has a general fund budget of $13 million and a total overall budget — including funds for the jail, roads, economic-development and emergency services — of $21.5 million. The county employs more than 200 people.

In the non-partisan primary for Nicholasville mayor, Pete Sutherland, a two-term member of the Nicholasville City Commission, was the leader. John Martin, who was mayor from 2003 to 2007, came in second in the primary and will vie with Sutherland in the November general election. Burt Ladd, a member of the Nicholasville planning commission, was eliminated in the primary.

In Franklin County's Democratic primary for judge-executive, fiscal court magistrate Huston Wells defeated three other contenders — fellow magistrate James D. Comer, along with Jim Anderson Stivers and George "Chris" Quire. Because there is no Republican opposition in the fall, Wells will succeed incumbent Judge-Executive Ted Collins, who did not seek re-election. Collins had endorsed Quire in the primary.

In Madison County's Republican primary for judge-executive, Reagan Taylor beat Billy Ray Hughes, Duane S. Curry, Greg King and Jonathon "J.T." Thompson. Hughes and King are fiscal court magistrates.

In the November general election, Taylor will be up against incumbent Democrat Kent Clark, who defeated Wayne Renfro in the Tuesday primary.

In Scott County's Republican primary for judge-executive, Mike Bradley fended off three other contenders: Mark Singer and fiscal court magistrates Louis Stewart Hughes and William K. "Bill" Parker. Bradley will face incumbent George Lusby, 77, a Democrat, in the November general election.

In the non-partisan primary for Georgetown mayor, the top two vote-getters were incumbent Everette Varney and former mayor Tom Prather. David Lynn Davila was eliminated. Varney and Prather will face off in the November general election.

Greg Kocher: (859) 231-3305. Twitter: @HLpublicsafety.

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