HAZARD – Wednesday marked the first day candidates in Perry County can file for local office, and by 9 a.m. several had already done so.
Chris Fugate filed to run for sheriff on the Democratic ticket early Wednesday morning. Retired from the Kentucky State Police, Fugate serves as pastor at the Gospel Light Church in Hazard. He said being in the law enforcement community is not just about enforcing the law, but also lending a hand to people in need.
“Out county is a mess, and I want to make a difference not only for the right but for the Lord, and I think it works hand in hand,” Fugate said, adding he joins a band of police officers who meet most Thursdays to pray as a group. “There’s a group of police officers that really want to see the Lord do something in this community, and this is part of it.”
The race for magistrate in District 2 already has at least two candidates. Incumbent Ronald Combs was in the clerk’s office to file for re-election on Wednesday, and is currently in the midst of his first term as magistrate. He won’t have an open primary, however, as former magistrate Pearl “Bubby” Combs also filed to run.
Bubby Combs, who served one term as magistrate from 2006-2010 before losing a primary race for county judge, said the office of magistrate is one he enjoyed and he looks forward to seeking another term.
“I served as magistrate for four years and I loved the job,” he said. “I worked hard every day, and I want to get back in there.”
Some political newcomers also filed for office on Wednesday, including Jeffrey Allen Combs, who is seeking a term as magistrate in District 1 on the Democratic ticket. Combs, who is currently a deputy coroner, said he feels like his home communities of Rowdy and Ary have been neglected and he wants to see representation for the entire district.
“We need somebody who is going to work for the community instead of just for their selves,” he said. “That’s just my opinion.”
Magistrate Frank Hurley is expected to seek re-election in District 1, while Charlie Baker also filed to run on Wednesday.
The race for magistrate in District 3 will be an open race, as Earl Brashear is not expected to run for re-election after serving two consecutive terms. Democrat Mark Raleigh filed to seek his first term in District 3 on Wednesday.
Several other candidates were in the court house, as well, including Hazard City Commissioner Happy Mobelini, who is expected to run for Hazard mayor. Additionally, Dexter Howard made his candidacy official and will run for jailer.
The Herald will have much more on this story as candidates file, including an up-to-date list of candidates in next week’s edition.