HAZARD — The race for county judge took a turn this week as one candidate withdrew while another threw his hat in the ring.
Republican Robert “Butch” Chaney, who had previously made two unsuccessful bids for county judge, took his name out of contention this past week. Judge-Executive Denny Ray Noble did pick up a primary challenger, however, as Scott Alexander filed to enter the race on Monday.
Alexander served previously in the state House of Representatives and said Monday he plans to focus on the future of Perry County and helping develop a more diverse economy that includes coal, but also a mix of other industries to provide jobs.
“I made my living in the coal mines and it’s been struggling,” Alexander said. “I’m going to do everything I can for the coal industry, but I think it’s time to also be looking at developing an economic infrastructure that’s not solely based upon coal.”
Alexander said he has ideas on how to move forward, from expanding broadband access to establishing an economic development committee. And he would like to see the county hire a full-time grant writer who could secure new funds to help develop a local arts economy, but also for the county’s infrastructure in terms of water and sewer.
And while the county does seem to be in good fiscal shape, he said the community is hurting from the effects of job loss. He added he doesn’t see his candidacy as one against the current administration, but rather a race for the future of the county.
“I don’t think that this is a race between Denny Ray Noble and Scott Alexander,” he said. “I think this is a race for the future and the foundation of Perry County, and the economic base and development that we build here.”
In other races, another candidate added his name into the race for magistrate in District 3. Democrat Cletas Moore officially kicked off his campaign for what is expected to be an open seat in District 3.
Moore is one of four Democrats on the ticket so far, which also includes Mark Raleigh, Kenny Cole, and James Ritchie. The race has not attracted a Republican contender thus far.
The number of candidates looking to become a constable in Perry County also increased. In District 3, Democrat Eugene “Buck” Fields filed the paperwork last week. A Republican, Dwight Wooton, also joined the race. Fields will face off in May against incumbent Clayton Church.