Mullins withdraws from race

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By James Roberts

Citing a battle with cancer, Democrat Doug Mullins has dropped out of the 51st District State Representative's race.

Mullins, who currently serves on the Campbellsville City Council, ran unopposed in the May primary. He would have faced Republican John "Bam" Carney in the race to fill the position that incumbent Russ Mobley, R-Campbellsville, will vacate when his term ends this year.

Mobley will not seek re-election. In a press release issued earlier this year, Mobley cited health issues as his reason for stepping down after eight years in office.

The 51st District serves Taylor and Adair counties.

On Tuesday morning, Mullins announced that he had withdrawn from the race.

Mullins, who is battling lung cancer, stated in a press release that the required radiation and chemotherapy treatments would hamper his ability to run an effective campaign. If elected, he stated, his illness and the treatment would prevent him from serving effectively during the first year of his term.

His name will not appear on the Nov. 4 General Election ballot.

In a telephone interview on Tuesday, Mullins said he made his decision on Monday.

"[Doctors] told me that I wouldn't be able to campaign or serve effectively," Mullins said. "You sort of see that is what the outcome is going to be, but you don't want to give it up."

Mullins discovered he had lung cancer in July after his face began to swell. Tests revealed that a tumor on his lung had cut blood flow by two-thirds.

Despite his treatments, Mullins said he would likely be able to finish his City Council term, which ends in December.

As for his prognosis, Mullins said his best hope would be for remission.

"My prognosis is not what you would call good. It is possible that I would be cured, but probably the best that I could hope for is a temporary remission."

Taylor County Clerk Mark Carney said that to withdraw from the race Mullins had to file a letter with the Secretary of State's office in Frankfort, which he did on Tuesday.

Because the filing deadline has passed, an individual cannot file to fill the vacancy, Carney said. Only the Democratic Party can select a new candidate.

Under state law, a new candidate can be nominated by the Democratic Party for one of three reasons - a candidate has died, is disqualified or has developed a debilitating illness.

Carney said Mullins' withdrawal likely falls into the third category.

Carney said the state would make a determination as to whether Mullins' withdrawal meets those criteria only if the Republican Party objects to his successor.

"The state is not going to get in the middle of it, I don't think," Carney said.

Bryan Bennett, chair of the Taylor County Democrats, said the Taylor and Adair county Democrats would nominate a new candidate.

"It will be the executive committees of Adair and Taylor county. We don't have a date yet."

Bennett said the groups are awaiting the go-ahead from the state. Once Mullins' withdrawal is certified, the committees will have 10 days to nominate a new candidate.

Bennett said the groups have no candidate in mind as of yet.

Deadline passes

The deadline to file in the non-partisan Taylor County and Campbellsville School and Soil and Water Conservation boards ended on Tuesday with a few candidates tossing their hats into the ring in the final weeks of the filing window.

On the Campbellsville Independent School Board ticket, the seats held by Barkley Taylor and Joe Walters are up for grabs. Taylor is the only incumbent to file. Joyce Atkinson and Chris Brunelle filed Tuesday.

Four spots on the seven-member Soil and Water Conversation Board are open. The four-year terms of David Cowherd, Donald Gaines, Doug Martin and Barry Smith expire this year. All incumbents except Gaines have filed for re-election.

Two more candidates have filed for the fourth spot on the Board - John McLean and Rod Phillips. This gives that race five candidates, meaning it will appear on the ballot.

If only four candidates had filed for the four seats, the race would not have advanced to the General Election.

On the Taylor County School Board ticket, Districts 2, 3 and 4 are up for election. Only incumbents Jim Cheatham, Tony Davis and Lillian Clark filed to run. The race will still appear on the ballot to allow for write-in candidates.

The deadline to file as a write-in candidate in any race except Soil and Water Conservation Board is 4 p.m. Oct. 24. There is no write-in option for the Conservation Board.

A ballot position drawing will take place on Aug. 14 at 2 p.m. at the Taylor County Courthouse, Carney said.

Residents have until Oct. 6 to change their political party or address or to register to vote in time for the General Election.

- Staff Writer James Roberts can be reached at 465-8111 Ext. 226 or by e-mail at writer@cknj.com. Comment on this story at www.cknj.com.