Glasgow Daily Times
If you’re experiencing a bit of fatigue lately, the summer heat might not be the only culprit. Even the hardiest followers of local politics are wearied by Chris Steward’s continued pursuit of a favorable ruling and/or result in the Democratic primary for Barren County judge-executive.
We are now 38 days removed from the May 20 election with no official resolution – three days more, for what it’s worth, than it took to wrap up the Bush-Gore presidential election in 2000.
The race, apparently won by three votes by Micheal Hale, has been recanvassed (as requested by second-place finisher Bud Tarry, who accepted that result), recounted (as requested by third-place Steward) and contested (by Steward). None of the proceedings changed the election-night numbers one whit, and Barren Circuit Judge Phillip Patton ruled June 12 that the 27 disqualified mail-in absentee ballots – the documents at the heart of Steward’s objections – were appropriately rejected.
After initially sounding resigned to accept Patton’s order, Steward filed notice last week that he is appealing the decision. The candidate told the Daily Times this week he’s doing so in the interest of those who voted for him and that his attorney, Matt Baker, might have found some precedents that will bolster Steward’s argument on the appellate level.
From the beginning, this newspaper has supported Steward’s right to explore whatever avenues are available by law, because it is important for Barren Countians to be certain of the victor in such a narrowly decided race. We maintain that position, even as the process moves closer to entering a third calendar month.
Resolving the matter is important for Barren County. But it’s better for the county’s future if the issue is resolved with finality, rather than allowing room for questions, doubt and speculation to linger.