Max Wise wins Senate seat

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Becomes county's first senator since 1952

By Calen McKinney



Taylor County will have a new senator come January. Max Wise defeated incumbent Sara Beth Gregory, R-Monticello, in Tuesday's primary election.

Wise and Gregory faced off in the Republican primary for the 16th District State Senate seat, in a race that saw more than $300,000 raised between the two and garnered national attention.

There are no Democratic challengers, so Wise will win the seat, though his name will be on the ballot in November's general election.

Wise carried Taylor County, winning 89 percent of the vote.

Gregory currently represents Taylor, Adair, Clinton, Cumberland, McCreary, Russell and Wayne counties.

Overall, Wise won 54.45 percent of the vote in the combined seven counties, with Gregory picking up 45.55 percent. In all, 25,780 people voted in the race in the seven counties. Wise led all Tuesday night, and received 14,037 votes in all.

Wise won in Taylor, Adair, Russell and Clinton counties. Gregory received the most votes in Cumberland, McCreary and Wayne counties.

On Tuesday night, Wise gathered with a large group of family and friends on Main Street to celebrate his win.

Wise thanked God, his family and his many supporters for their help. He also thanked residents who changed their political party from Democrat to Republican to vote for him.

He said he was told primary races are physically, emotionally and spiritually exhausting, and that proved true.

Wise told the crowd, "I just thank everybody that played a part in this."

He said the support he received has been "unbelievable."

Taylor County hasn't had a state senator from its own community since 1952.

"I will make one promise to you, that I will stay the same person as you elected tonight, the same way in Frankfort," he said.

In a statement released Tuesday night, Gregory stated that it has been a privilege to serve in Frankfort, first as a state representative and most recently as a state senator.

"I have cherished the opportunity to represent the people of my district and understand the extraordinary responsibility of these offices," she stated.

"I've congratulated Max on his hard-fought victory and wish him well. I will move forward and continue to help in any way I can to make life better for our people and steer Kentucky to a brighter future."

In the U.S. Senator race on the Republican ticket, incumbent Mitch McConnell carried Taylor County with 63 percent of the votes. He received 60 percent of the vote in all of Kentucky and will advance to the general election to face Alison Lundergan Grimes, who, in the Democratic primary won 79 percent of the vote in Taylor County and 76 percent statewide.

In the Democratic race for U.S. Representative, Charles Kendall Hatchett carried Taylor County with 64 percent of the vote. On the state level, he received 55.5 percent. He will face incumbent Ed Whitfield in the fall.

In local races, all of the incumbents who faced opposition will advance to the general election.

Campbellsville Mayor Tony Young will face Brenda Allen again in the general election. In the 2010 general election race, Young defeated Allen to begin his term in office.

Young received 56.7 percent of the votes, with Allen taking home 38.8. Challenger Henry Goff received 4.5 percent. The top two vote getters advanced.

In the jailer's race, voters will see another re-match in November.

On the Republican ticket, incumbent Hack Marcum received 78 percent of the vote, eliminating Terry Lynn Skaggs, who took home 22 percent.

Marcum will face Rick Benningfield again in the fall. Benningfield, whom Marcum defeated in the 2010 general election to begin his term as jailer, received 88 percent of Tuesday's vote, with Nick Alsager receiving 12 percent.

In the PVA race, incumbent Chad Shively will advance to the general election to face Democrat Greg Chick. Shively defeated challenger Bernie Cave by receiving 67 percent of the vote to Cave's 33 percent.

There were four magisterial races on Tuesday's ballot.

First District Magistrate Dr. James Jones defeated Shawn Canada in the Republican race by collecting 65 percent of the vote. Jones will now face Bobby Kirtley in the fall.

In the Third District magistrate race, Milford Lowe defeated Barry Bryant by collecting 68 percent of the vote. Lowe will now face Republican incumbent Tommy Corbin in the fall. This will be a rematch, as Lowe and Corbin faced off in the same race in 2010, with Corbin getting the most votes.

In the Fifth District magistrate race, Adolphus Holland received 59 percent of the vote to Chester "Check" Lynch's 41 percent. Holland will advance to face incumbent Ed Gorin, a Republican, in the fall.

In the Sixth District magistrate race, Gary Porter came out on top with 53 percent of the vote, compared to challenger Wayne Thomas's 47 percent. Porter will face the incumbent, Republican Richard Phillips, in the fall.

There were no primary races in the Second and Fourth magisterial districts. In the Second District, incumbent John D. Gaines, a Democrat, will face Ronnie Dooley in the fall. In the Fourth District race, incumbent Matt Pendleton, a Republican, will face Chris Ambers.

There were three constable races on Tuesday's ballot - in the Third, Fourth and Fifth districts.

In the Third District race, incumbent James Gaddis, a Republican, will advance to face Josh Kelley, a Democrat, in the fall. Gaddis received 85 percent of the vote. Voters will also be able to vote for Eddie Pendleton in November, who filed as an Independent candidate.

In the Fourth District race, Tyler Young took home 65.5 percent of the vote, which eliminates Roy Hudgins, who took home 35.5 percent. Young, a Republican, will face incumbent Marshall Graham in the fall.

In the Fifth District race, Allen McDonald advances after receiving 66 percent of the vote compared to Dennis Draper's 34 percent. McDonald will face incumbent Wayne Parson, a Democrat, in the fall.

In the fall, Ed Pike and Carl Watson, both Republicans, filed to become constable in the First and Second districts, respectively. They have no opposition.

Incumbent Rick Reynolds, a Democrat, filed to keep his seat in the Sixth District and has no opposition in the general election.

There will be several other races on the ballot in the fall, with many of those candidates not having primary opposition and advancing straight to the general election. Other races that will be on the general election ballot include state representative, judge of the court of appeals, circuit and district judges, county attorney, county judge/executive, sheriff, county clerk, coroner and surveyor.

Overall, the local turnout was 37 percent. According to Taylor County Clerk Mark Carney, 45.2 percent of Republicans voted, while 31.4 percent of Democrats cast votes on Tuesday.

In all, 6,471 of the county's registered 17,557 voters cast votes on Tuesday.

Carney said Tuesday's election ran fairly smoothly. Medical emergencies caused two election workers to have to leave their precincts, he said, and one voter became upset after he found out he was registered as a Democrat, though he believed he was a registered Republican.

After becoming very upset and telling precinct workers that he would be back, Carney called the Taylor County Sheriff's Office and asked for a deputy to come to the precinct. He said a constable was able to respond and remain at the precinct until it closed.

Carney said this is the first year he has had to call for law enforcement to come to a precinct.

Other candidates advancing to the general election are:

Mayor                Brenda Allen

                         Henry L. Goff

                         Tony Young (I)

PVA                   Chad Shively-D (I)

                         Thomas "Bernie" Cave-D

Jailer                  Terry Lynn Skaggs-R

                         Eddie "Hack" Marcum-R (I)

                         Nick Alsager-D

                         Rick Benningfield-D


District 1            James E. Jones-R (I)

                         Shawn Canada-R

District 3            Milford Lowe-D

                         Barry Bryant-D

District 5            Chester "Check" Lynch-D

                         Adolphus Holland-D

District 6            Gary Porter-D

                         Wayne Thomas-D


District 3            James Gaddis-R (I)

                         Ed Hudgins-R

District 4            Roy Hudgins-R

                         Tyler Young-R

District 5            Allen McDonald-R

                         Dennis Draper-R