Jan. 29—Commonwealth primary election filings wrapped Tuesday, with McLean County seeing 17 candidates vying for the posts of executive judge 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 takes on the role of the highest elected office in the county.
Dame, 33, from Rumsey took office in November 2019 and believes the county has overcome many obstacles such as pension issues and utility facilities.
And with the progress made, Dame hopes to continue to serve the county by carrying out future projects to address said issues, while keeping the county in a solvent financial position while continuing to practice transparency with citizens.
“We’re at the point now (where) I feel like citizens can go to bed or fall asleep at night knowing we’ll be here tomorrow,” Dame said. “That wasn’t the case a few years ago.”
Tapp, also 33, from Elba, graduated from Apollo High School and earned associate degrees in allied health and agriculture from Owensboro Community and Technical College, a bachelor’s degree in general agriculture and a master’s degree in agricultural education from Western Kentucky University.
Tapp is currently employed as an agricultural teacher at Owensboro Catholic High School and has been with the McLean County Ambulance Service since 2017 while also serving in a volunteer firefighting role with the Western District Fire Department/ Beech Grove since 2019, which is one of his main goals. to be sent if elected.
“(With) the low cost of our ambulance service for our people here in this community and all the good they are doing for our community, I feel like they really need to focus a bit more to s ensure they have everything they need, they are adequately staffed; staff are paid at a rate that is at least competitive with what other counties around us are paying,” Tapp said. “…It’s something that I think is lacking for this service.”
The county sheriff race is currently between incumbent Republican Kenneth Frizzell and Democrat Todd Wilkerson.
Frizzell, 41, of Sacramento is currently seeking his third term.
Frizzell spent 19 years in the sheriff’s office, where he held several positions such as deputy chief, K-9 officer and patrolman. If elected, one of Frizzell’s goals is to continue to fight crime and drug problems.
“Drugs are our number one problem in this county. … A lot of people say that drugs are a victimless crime – it’s not true. The person themselves are a victim, their family is a victim … and the society,” Frizzell said. noted. “Most of our robberies, and then other crimes, stem from…drug use. I feel like if we can reduce that a bit, we’ll reduce a lot of other issues.”
Wilkerson, 49, of Livermore, automatically advances to the general election because no one else has registered in the Democratic primary.
Wilkerson is a lifelong county resident, graduating from McLean County High School in 1990 and has more than 20 years of law enforcement experience, including his time with the McLean County Sheriff’s Office and the Owensboro Police Department before retiring from the latter in September 2020.
Some of Wilkerson’s plans if elected include adequate patrolling of all county communities, regular meetings with judges and prosecutors, and a focus on having deputies in county schools to keep students safe. .
“After being contacted (towards) by a lot of people, … it’s something that I decided I still had a lot of drive and a lot of passion for,” Wilkerson said. “I thought it would be a great way, with the experience I have, to be able to give back to my county.”
Additional electoral fields for the county include incumbent Democrat Matt Hayden, 57, of Beech Grove, as well as Republican opponents Luie Whitaker, 67, of Calhoun and Stephen Ayer, 44, of Calhoun for the North West magistrate . Whitaker and Ayer will run for the Republican spot in the general election against Hayden.
All other magistrate positions run unopposed – Republican incumbent Joseph Lowery, 40, of Sacramento for Southwest magistrate, Republican incumbent Clay Troutman, 71, of Calhoun for Northeast magistrate and Democratic incumbent Robert Bishop, 47, of the Island for Southeast Magistrate.
Other candidates running unopposed in the primary election include incumbent Democrat Donna M. Dant, 62, of Calhoun for county attorney, incumbent Democrat Carol Eaton, 54 of the Island for clerk County, incumbent Democrat Dale W. Ayer, 62, of Calhoun for PVA, incumbent Democrat John W. Muster IV, 74, of Calhoun for coroner, incumbent Republican Chris Ellis, 45, of Sacramento for the jailer, Republican candidate Mark Badertscher, 57, of Calhoun for the Northwest Constable and Democratic incumbent Johnny Vandiver, 79, of Island for the Southeast Constable.
There are no candidates in the running for the gendarmes of the northeast or the southwest.