Primary election results were a slow burn this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, but Christian County votes were announced promptly Tuesday morning on the Christian County Clerk’s website.
Overall, 9,031 out of 53,639 registered voters in Christian County turned out to vote via three options that were made available this year — mail-in absentee, early walk-in absentee and in-person voting June 23 Election Day, bringing turnout to 16.8% collectively.
Hopkinsville City Council primary winners include:
Ward 1 — Darvin Adams (incumbent)
Ward 6 — Paula Knight
Ward 7 — Richard Covington
Ward 9 — Patricia Waddell-Bell (incumbent)
Ward 10 — Steve Keel
Each will move on to the Nov. 3 general election where some have challengers.
Defeating his opponent Thomas Grant by nearly 100 votes, Darvin Adams won the Democratic primary for Ward 1.
Of the 156 votes that Adams received, 25 were from absentee walk-in ballots, 86 were from absentee mail-in ballots and 44 votes were made at the Bruce Convention Center.
Grant received a total of 67 votes, with 17 coming from absentee walk-in ballots, 31 from absentee mail-in ballots and 19 votes coming from voters who completed their ballots at the Bruce Convention Center.
Adams, a Democrat, will face Natasha Sophia Francis, who is a Republican, this fall.
If he wins, Adams — a University Heights Academy graduate as well as Mid Continent University, Louisville Presbyterian University and Northwestern in Chicago, where he got his PhD in theology and ethics — will serve as the Ward 1 representative for a second term.
Adams stressed the importance of his leadership and communication skills in the League of Women Voters of Hopkinsville primary election candidate forums. He also stated that housing and quality of life in regards to housing is the biggest challenge Hopkinsville is facing at the moment.
Paula Knight won the Hopkinsville City Council Ward 6 Democratic primary against Kenneth Hatzakorzian. After the final vote was tallied, Knight had a 12 vote advantage.
Knight brought in 192 votes against Hatzakorzian’s 180. The majority of both candidates’ votes came from mail-in absentee ballots.
“I feel great now that I’ve won,” Knight said. “But I’m gearing up for a hard race in the fall.”
The Ward 6 seat was vacated when Carter Hendricks stepped down as mayor earlier in the year. The city council voted for then-councilman Wendell Lynch to take over the mayor’s chair for the unexpired term.
The city council voted 6-5 to appoint Travis Martin, a Republican, to fill the Ward 6 seat for Lynch’s unexpired term.
Martin is running as a Republican for the seat in November. Knight is a former city council member.
Knight said she believes Ward 6 is mostly Republican, so the overall vote counts were lower in the democratic primary.
“This race in the fall will be a city-wide race,” she said. “And that’ll be a little bit different. It’ll be a harder race to win.”
She said COVID-19 may also affect the results of the November general election.
“It depends on how the COVID-19 goes,” she said. “How much social distancing we have to do and whether we can go door to door.”
Ward 7 Republican candidate Richard K. Covington defeated challenger Dustin Gilbert in the 2020 primary election for Hopkinsville City Council.
Covington received 135 votes over 85 for Gilbert.
“I just want to serve the public. I’ve always been interested in that,” Covington said. “To be able to help a citizen in need is very rewarding for me.”
Covington has been the assistant administrator at Covington’s Convalescent and Rehabilitation Center since 1983. From 1989 until 2006, he served on city council. He lost a reelection bid in 2006 and lost a bid for mayor in 2010 to Mayor Dan Kemp.
“I took a sabbatical and after 14 years now I’ve reengaged my interest and decided I’d like to be re-involved in city government,” he said.
Because of COVID-19 regulations on skilled nursing facilities, Covington declined to participate in the League of Women Voters televised primary candidate forum in mid-June.
“We’ve got such strict guidelines trying to keep our facility safe with the COVID virus, I just didn’t feel like I needed to be away,” he said.
Covington said he has a few issues he is concerned about regarding the city of Hopkinsville.
“There are two issues,” he said. “One is taxation. We have four major revenue sources in Hopkinsville — your property tax, your privilege license, payroll tax and your insurance premium tax. I understand there’s a proposal by the current administration to raise all of those to the max. I don’t agree with that. I think they had a $9-plus million surplus this year and that’s just something that has always been a pet peeve of mine. I’m not very keen on taxation.”
Covington said he thinks the only tax increases he voted on in the 17 years he served on city council was the annual property valuation.
“I also believe in nonpartisan government,” he said. “When I was a council member for 17 years, we did study that back in the early years of my term which would have been the late 80s, early 90s. We had a citizens committee put together that did tons of research and it made its way to the council.”
Covington does not remember a vote on nonpartisan government at that time, but said the issue “just sort of went away.”
“In the community, I think there’s a lot of support for it,” he said.
Covington said he is also concerned about city services, like law enforcement.
“I want to be sure we have a strong police department,” he said. “We have an elite fire and EMS service. In my opinion, we have an elite police department, but I want to be sure that those two entities have the tools they need to do their job and that they can continue to provide the good services that they have all these years.”
Covington noted that sanitation and the landfill are issues that deserve the council’s attention and added that he wants to make sure city employees are appropriately paid for the services that they provide.
“There’s a whole array of issues, but those are the main ones,” he said.
Covington faces Democratic incumbent Terry Parker in the November general election.
“We’re good friends,” Covington said of his opponent. “We go back several years. I don’t have anything at all against the work Terry has done. It’s just that I want to serve and I think he does as well, so we’ll be friendly opponents, I’m sure.”
Longtime Ward 9 incumbent Patricia Waddell-Bell maintained her seat on Hopkinsville City Council facing a close race with Ardell Owens, her first challenger in several years, she said.
Waddell-Bell had 176 votes while Owens had 149.
“That’s too close for comfort,” Waddell-Bell said when she heard the results. “I am surprised, I am excited, but I’m disappointed too because people didn’t come out to vote. I walked and walked and walked these streets (campaigning).”
Owens said he was dissatisfied with the loss but plans to run again in two years.
“Looking at the numbers, that shows that there are people who want the change,” he said. “I might have lost the race, but I ain’t done. I’m still going to do what it takes to help my ward and the city, whether that’s being on a board or the neighborhood association.
“The area of Ward 9 needs help,” he continued. “We’re lacking some things.”
During their sole debate earlier this month, the candidates shared similar views on city spending and inner-city improvement projects.
Waddell-Bell said Tuesday she forgot to mention during the debate that she is working on a housing project in the Durrett Avenue neighborhood where she lives.
“I’m trying get some houses built in this neighborhood,” said Waddell-Bell, who will be serving her 21st year on city council. “I want homeowners. I know everybody doesn’t want to own a home, but when you own a home, you take better care of it.”
In closing, Owens said to Waddell-Bell, “I tip my hat to her, and I wish her good luck.”
Waddell-Bell does not have an opponent in the November General Election.
Steve Keel won the City Council Ward 10 primary election by a fair margin against his opponent Robert Almy for the Republican seat.
The final results tallied 76 votes for Keel and just 31 for Almy, making Keel the winner by receiving 71% of the total votes.
“I’m feeling great,” Keel said after winning the primary. “I just want to thank everyone that voted for me and it’s a confidence booster. I know the turnout wasn’t what we were hoping for — I was hoping for a higher turnout, but I feel really good about the amount of votes that I got and it’s got me riding a pretty high wave going into the general election.”
Keel said that while he is excited that he won the primary election, he doesn’t consider it a “victory.”
“I’m a competitive guy and I feel like all I’ve done in the primary is, I have won the right to continue to compete,” Keel said. “The victory will come in November should I win.”
Keel will now face incumbent Democrat Jimmy Dossett, who has been the Ward 10 seat for the last several years.
Keel said he is confident going into the general election, and while he likes Dossett, he would like to see a change in the Ward 10 seat.
“Like I’ve always said, Jimmy’s a good guy and I like Jimmy,” Keel said.
“I would just like to see a change in that seat up there and get some fresh ideas. I’m feeling confident as far as my chances. I feel like I’ve got just as good of a chance as anybody, and going into it, I’m already starting to work on some campaign strategies.”
During the League of Women Voters council debates, Keel shared during his introduction that he is a lifelong Hopkinsville resident and Realtor who graduated from the Chamber of Commerce Leadership Hopkinsville-Christian County program in 2008.
Keel also shared that he has some experience serving on the Community Development Services Board, which he has been serving on since 2017 after being appointed to the board by former Mayor Carter Hendricks.
Keel said he wants to be available to the voters and residents of Hopkinsville. He encouraged anyone to contact him at 270-839-5335 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Keel is also encouraging people to visit his campaign Facebook page at Steve Keel for City Council.
State and national races
On the national and state level, President Donald J. Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden took Christian County in the Republican and Democratic presidential primary.
Charles Booker surpassed Amy McGrath locally with 2,659 to 1,905 in Christian County for the U.S. Senate Democratic race; however, McGrath edged out Booker statewide.
McGrath will face longtime Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell, who secured his spot in the November general election with 2,503 local votes.
Additionally, Chris McNeill maintained the judge’s seat for the Court of Appeals 1st Appellate District 1st Division. He earned 3,058 votes in Christian County.