Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

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May 21, 2014

Towler, Parker to face off for Boyd judge-executive

CATLETTSBURG — A pair of first-time office-seekers will square off for the post of Boyd County judge-executive this fall.

Democrat Steve Towler and Republican Kenny Parker, both of whom are making their initial forays into politics, won their parties’ respective nominations in Tuesday’s primary voting.

Towler scored an easy victory over current District 1 County Commissioner David Salisbury and Jack E. Hardin. With 47 of 47 precincts reporting, unofficial results from Boyd County Clerk’s office showed:

Towler 2,813

Salisbury 1,822

Hardin 350

On the GOP ticket, Parker defeated George L. Brown Jr. in a much tighter race. Unofficial results from the clerk’s office showed:

Parker 1,214

Brown 1,120

Towler and Parker will vie in November for the right to succeed William “Bud” Stevens, who’s retiring after two terms in office.

Towler, the former executive director of the United Way of Boyd and Greenup Counties and a one-time Ashland Independent Schools superintendent, said he was “elated” with his primary win. He also said he was somewhat surprised with his margin of victory, given that Salisbury had won two consecutive county-wide elections.

“We worked hard and we started early,” he said. “We had a good base here. But, of course, you never know how that’s going to come out in the end.”

While he has held a number of appointed offices, including the superintendencies of five different Kentucky school systems, Towler joked that this win on Tuesday’s election was his first electoral victory “since I was elected Beta Club president in high school.”

He also praised Salisbury for running “a positive campaign” and said he hoped Salisbury and those who voted for him would support him in the general election.

“If the Democrats will stick with me and I can get a few of my Republican friends to vote for me, I think we’ll be OK,” he said.

Parker, a remodeling contractor, attributed his primary win to good, old-fashioned footwork.

“I got out and knocked on a lot of doors and met a lot of people,” he said.

Parker also said he knew he was in for a “tough, uphill battle” against Towler in the November election, given that Democrats outnumber Republicans in Boyd County by a wide margin.

“I’m not ready to count us out, though,” he said.

Parker also said he believed the management skills he has gained in nearly 40 years of running his own business would serve him well as judge-executive.

“I feel like I can do a lot of good for the county.”

KENNETH HART can be reached at khart@dailyindependent.com or

(606) 326-2654.

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