Saturday, April 16, 2016

Congressional hopefuls to gather for town hall

The Crittenden Press
Republicans in Kentucky have already selected their presidential nominee, but there’s still work to be done. In many ways, what’s up next is even more important than the race for the White House, claims Crittenden County Republican Party’s vice chairman.

“This is a very, very, very important race,” Fred Stubblefield said of Kentucky’s May primary election that features a contest for the seat to be vacated by 11-term U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield, R-Hopkinsville. “We’re replacing a congressman who’s been in there a long time. He knows our community, and he’s helped us. We need to make sure that continues.”

To help GOP voters decide who they want to appear on the November ballot to face the Democratic opposition looking to take an open seat in Congress, Crittenden County Republican Party is hosting a town hall meeting next week featuring three of the party’s four 1st District congressional candidates. Jason Batts, Mike Pape and James Comer have agreed to participate in the April 28 event at Fohs Hall in Marion. It is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. and should wrap up by 9 p.m. or sooner, Stubblefield said.

Stubblefield said tentative plans are for prospective voters at the town hall to submit to party officials their questions to candidates at the event on index cards. Duplicate queries can then be weeded out. Candidates will likely be given about 10 minutes to speak before questions from the audience.

Stubblefield said some Republicans appear to be under the impression they have nothing to vote for in the May 17 primary since they cast their presidential ballot in the March 5 caucus. However, he explained, nothing could be further from the truth.

“This is going to be a very big election,” he said of the contests for the U.S. House and Senate. “Republicans do have a vote in this primary, and it’s very important.”

In Crittenden, Livingston and Caldwell counties, Republicans will pick nominees for Capitol Hill, but there will be no primary for the statehouse. Rep. Lynn Bechler, R-Marion, is unopposed and Sen. Dorsey Ridley, D-Henderson, was elected to another four-year term  in 2014. Republicans in Union and Webster counties will also have no statehouse races.

Democrats, meantime, will nominate from four candidates for President, two for U.S. House of Representatives and a crowded field of seven for U.S. Senate. Democrats in Crittenden, Livingston, Caldwell, Union and Webster counties will have no statehouse contests.

The deadline to register to vote in next month’s primary was Monday, and it is also too late to switch political parties.