Incumbents in Richmond and Georgetown won spots on the November ballot after coming in second Tuesday to mayoral challengers who received significantly more votes. But in two other nearby Central Kentucky cities, Paris and Winchester, incumbents came out on top by wide margins.
In Georgetown, Karen Tingle-Sames received 1,466 votes, and former mayor Everette Varney received 2,841 votes. Al Catron, a retired Scott County Fire Department major, was eliminated. He received 961 votes.
Tingle-Sames said she thinks citizens will respond in November to her message of fiscal restraint and the importance of putting taxpayers first.
"They'll make the right choice," she said.
Varney said he was elated by the results.
"I was hoping for something like this," he said of Tuesday's results. "But it exceeds what I had hoped for."
Voters in Georgetown will have to choose from the same candidates who were on the ballot four years ago. In November 2006, Tingle-Sames, who was a city council member, defeated Varney, a two-term mayor, by 84 votes.
In Richmond, incumbent Connie Lawson will face challenger Jim Barnes in November.
Barnes, a former Richmond city commissioner, was the top vote-getter in the three-candidate race with 3,086 votes. Barnes hammered Lawson on a budget deficit, which an audit released last week showed was $3 million for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2009.
"The message is, people are dissatisfied with the way city government has been run," Barnes said. "When you run a business, and you run it into the ground, I don't think they give you a pay raise."
Lawson, who is seeking her third four-year term, received 1,197 votes. Lawson said she didn't "work as hard as my opponent. I look forward to some debates this fall. I look forward to a vigorous campaign."
Ritchie Mesalam was eliminated in the non-partisan primary.
Paris Mayor Mike Thornton, a two-term city commissioner who was appointed after Mayor Don Kiser died from a heart attack in April 2009, received the most votes in the city's primary and advanced with Janet S. Patton, a three-term city commissioner who has also served as mayor pro-tem.
Newcomer Neil Jackson Crump, 31, will not be on the November ballot.
Thornton received 859 votes in the non-partisan race, and Patton got 404 votes. Crump received 164 votes.
Patton noted earlier this week that she has had a history of supporting development.
Thornton has said that he wants to continue using a business approach to help government operate efficiently and reduce expenses. He said the city also needs to address drug problems, and he would like to explore more opportunities for the city and county to share resources.
Voters in Winchester will choose between a political novice and the incumbent in November. Ralph Garrett Harrison, who has never run for public office, came in second behind incumbent Ed Burtner, a former Winchester city manager seeking his second term as mayor.
"I thought I would do a little better, but I'll take it," Harrison said. "I'll sit in the back seat until I can drive."
Harrison ran on a populist theme, emphasizing that he is an average guy who will fight for those affected by a water rate hike.
Burtner said the water increase was necessary as part of a court-ordered consent decree.
"We did everything we could to minimize the impact on the average rate payer," Burtner said.
Clint Jones, a University of Kentucky philosophy instructor who lost against Burtner in 2006, was eliminated in the primary.
"My message just isn't tailored for a small, rural city," Jones said.