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On Nov. 2, incumbents Sheriff Ben Smith and Constable Glenn Chatham will attempt to do the statistically impossible: Win back their seats in the general election as write-in candidates.
Smith lost his seat in the May Democratic primary to Carrollton Police Officer Jamie Kinman by a vote of 1,191 to 837, while Chatham lost to former Carroll County Jailer David Miles by a vote of 385 to 289.
County Clerk Alice Marsh said a write-in candidate has never won a county-wide race before. The only time it has been done is in a situation in the cities of Ghent, Sanders, Worthville and Prestonville where there were not enough candidates who initially filed to fill all of the open positions. For example, if there are four city commissioner positions open and only three file, a write-in candidate with the most votes would fill the final spot.
Deputy County Clerk Patti Mefford said the deadline to file as a write-in candidate is Oct. 22. Those interested must fill in a declaration of intent to write-in form at the county clerk’s office and pay a fee, $20 for district 5 and 6 elections and $50 for Carrollton and county-wide elections.
The form also includes a space with nine spots for the candidate to write different spelling variations of their name. Mefford explained that if an individual decides to cast a vote for a write-in candidate, the name must match one of the nine variations the candidate wrote down. If there are no candidates running in the same race with the same last name, a voter may write just the candidate’s last name if that variation is listed on their form. However, if a voter writes only a candidate’s first name and no last name, the vote will not count, Mefford said.
“You will not see the (write-in candidates’) name on the ballot,” Mefford said. “You have to color the box for ‘write-in’ and write the name of the person you are voting for.”
Following the May primary, Smith said he received phone calls and visits at the office from county residents asking him if he was going to run in the November election. After giving it some thought, he said it was “at the request of the public” that he decided to throw his hat back in the ring.
“My plan is to serve the people to the best of my ability,” Smith said.
Smith said his Jan. 12 traffic accident, in which he suffered multiple injuries, hindered his ability to campaign in the spring. While he returned to work before the election, he said it took him longer than he thought to regain full strength, and he was not able to get out and campaign. However, this time around, he said he is out every night talking to people in the community.
“I’m going door-to-door and talking to people and advertising, and I hope people decide they still want me to be their sheriff,” Smith said.
In addition to Smith and Kinman, Eddie Mefford, Deputy J.T. Shaw and, at the time, Chief Deputy Jim Hamilton also ran in the primary for the sheriff’s office. Smith said any time that many people run in a race, it affects the outcome.
“I hope I can pick up some of their votes up because I hope people realize I’m in good shape and performing my duties,” he said.
As sheriff, Smith said he works closely with child services and probation and parole. He also upgraded some of the sheriff’s office equipment, including the computer system, the computerized tax collecting system, the patrol vehicles and the radio system in the vehicles.
Smith also discussed a federal communications grant for about $98,000 that the sheriff’s office received to improve handheld radio and cell phone coverage in the county for the deputies. The grant, written by Joan Moore, would put additional repeaters on water towers in the county and give the sheriff’s office its own radio channel, he said.
“I would like to be here to see that take place,” Smith said, adding that currently, deputies do not have radio coverage once they exit their vehicle in parts of the county.
Smith said he answers about 90 percent of his calls for service from his cell phone, and he wants to be approachable, reachable and available to the public.
“Availability is being available to answer the calls, but I’m approachable and reachable because everyone has my cell phone number, and if they don’t, ask the person standing next to them. And when it rings, I answer it,” Smith said. “… I enjoy answering calls; I enjoy helping people, and that’s what I want to continue to do: help people and provide a service.”
Despite winning the May primary, Kinman is back out campaigning and reminding voters that the primary results are not final step in the election process.
“I thank everyone for their support in May, and I will get back out there and knock on doors and talk to people,” he said. “…The people spoke loudly during the primary, and I have no way of knowing who they voted for, but I would be happy to talk to them about the issues and have them vote for me.”
Kinman said he is comfortable talking about the issues that affect Carroll County residents and hopes people are comfortable talking to him. He said he hopes to talk to everyone that he can, but if there is someone he does not see or if someone wants to contact him to talk about an issue or has a question, they are welcome to contact him on his Facebook page, “Jamie Kinman for Sheriff.”
Kinman has 12 years of law enforcement experience, all with the Carrollton Police Department. He is a graduate of the Department of Criminal Justice Training at Eastern Kentucky University and completed a police training officers’ course, which provides guidance and leadership for new officers. He has also completed professional training in identity theft, felony cases, court preparation and financial criminal investigations training, as well as undercover narcotics and prescription drug abuse, two of the biggest issues in Carroll County, he said.
“(The training) gives me the tools necessary to be the most competent, capable and knowledgeable candidate for sheriff,” Kinman said.
Kinman is also a member of Champions for a Drug Free Carroll County, and he has maintained good communication with members of the court system – judges, attorneys and court staff – and has “a great relationship with all law enforcement agencies,” he said.
“I’m the most qualified of the two of us,” he said. “… I want to thank the people who helped and supported me in the May primary and for their continued support and for everyone to know that the election is not over and to remember to vote on Nov. 2.”
There will also be a race for constable with a write-in candidate this fall.
As he nears the end of his second term as constable for district two, Chatham said he decided to run again as a write-in candidate in November because he enjoys the work.
“I feel I have been the only working constable in the county for the last 7 1/2 years,” he said. “… I like being able to assist the city officers and the sheriff’s (office), and I just like working for the community.”
Chatham said he will continue with the same campaign approach of visiting residents door-to-door, but he will also bring a sample ballot and a business card with him in order to educate the public on how to complete a write-in vote.
Those Carroll County residents who vote at Carrollton City Hall (front and back), the Mason Building and Worthville Town Hall live in district two and are eligible to cast a vote in this race, Mefford said.
In the May primary, six candidates including Chatham and Miles, ran for constable of district two. Chatham said he hopes to convince residents to vote for him based on his training and work assisting both the Carrollton Police Department and Carroll County Sheriff’s Office on calls.
“I’ve been the only constable to do that as far back as I can remember,” he said.
Chatham went to Richmond to the basic officer’s school where he was certified in firearm’s training. He is also conducting ongoing training with the city and county police departments. Thus far, he has been certified to use a taser and has completed training at the firing range.
“I have the experience, I’ve had the training and I have the ability to do the job,” Chatham said.
Despite repeated attempts, Miles could not be reached for comment and did not return calls where messages were left.