Traditionally, Labor Day before an election year for county offices marks the point at which candidates begin to announce plans. Talk is abundant about who might run, but potential candidates have been quiet. Look for that to change over the next few weeks.

Bobby Lee Hurt, former manager at Barren River State Park, was busy at Saturday’s Global Fest, shaking hands and greeting people visiting a tent set up by the local Democratic Party. Hurt has been alternately rumored to be running — or not running — for county judge-executive next year in the Democrat primary.

“I’ve never gotten out, I’ve been in all along,” Hurt said Saturday.

That may affect the thinking of Chris Steward who ran unsuccessfully in the Democrat primary in 2002. Steward doesn’t think a Democrat can win a contested primary for judge-executive and then defeat a viable Republican candidate in the fall. And there is a very viable Republican candidate: incumbent Judge-Executive Davie Greer, who has already said she intends to seek re-election.

Should Steward decide to run but run as an independent, that could create a three-way race with Greer and Hurt. Steward lost a rough-and-tumble primary four years ago to Benny Dickinson and many of his supporters switched to Greer in the fall. A three-way race complicates things for Greer who remains the favorite.

Republican County Clerk Pam Hodges Browning isn’t likely to face a challenge — she’s liked and respected by Democrats and Republicans alike. Nancy Botts (also respected and liked by members of both parties) will probably retire, opening up the circuit clerk’s office. That job requires passing a state test in December, so prospective candidates are reluctant to divulge interest until they’ve passed the test or seen who has. One who might be interested is Magistrate Krissie Coe Fields.

No one is talking about taking on Jeff Sharp as county attorney. If anyone’s considering that race, he or she is being very coy. Nor has anyone publicly shown interest in challenging Commonwealth Attorney Karen Davis. That potential contest is subject of speculation by local political wags, however.

Sheriff Barney Jones hasn’t made public his plans, but he will do so soon. He’s in his fourth term, including the five-year term when a constitutional amendment changed Kentucky’s election cycle. Should he retire, Deputy Chris Eaton will run – he’s dreamed of being Sheriff since childhood and is an accomplished politician who is liked by most Democrats and Republicans.

Ronnie Ellis is a reporter and columnist for the Glasgow Daily Times. Contact him by emailing rellis@glasgowdailytimes.com

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