Change rules in Pike County primary election

By Kyle Lovern

May 21, 2014

By Kyle Lovern


PIKEVILLE, Ky. – Change is the message from Tuesday’s primary election in Pike County.

Challenger Chris Harris narrowly defeated incumbent Keith Hall for a state House seat in the 93rd District. Harris, of Forest Hills, who currently serves as a magistrate in Pike County, defeated Hall, who hails from the Phelps area.

Hall, 54, was seeking his eighth term in Frankfort. Harris, a local attorney, is 43 years old. The 93rd District now consists of Pike and Martin counties of eastern Kentucky.

“We wanted to offer the voters a new direction,” Harris said. “We were told it couldn’t be done. We had faith in the good people of Pike County that if we offered them a choice, they would be ready to make a change.”

“I’m real proud of the people of both Pike and Martin counties who stood up and said they were tired of corruption,” Harris added.

Harris won by 208 votes. Unofficially, he had 3,521 votes in Pike County and 330 in Martin County, compared to 3,449 and 193 for Hall.

Another longtime office holder in Pike County, Sheriff Charles “Fuzzy” Keesee, was defeated Tuesday night.

Current Pike County Jailer Rodney Scott beat Keesee, who had held the office for 41 years. Both are from the Belfry area.

“We ran a positive campaign,” Scott said. “I think people wanted a change. It was time for a change.

“Sheriff Keesee deserves respect. He held the position for 41 years and he deserves all of the honors he receives,” Scott said after being declared the winner.

Since no Republicans filed, Scott will run unopposed in November unless there is a write-in candidate.

Scott won by a 2-to-1 margin receiving 8,610 votes to Keesee’s 4,333.

Former Pike County Judge-Executive Bill Deskins upset current and longtime Judge-Executive Wayne T. Rutherford for that seat.

Rutherford, seeking his seventh term, was defeated by a total of 5,332 to 4,694. A third candidate, Doug Sayers, received 2,604 votes.

“I am just happy to win this thing. It was my purpose to do this for the county and the people, to serve them. I thank them for helping me win it,” Deskins said.

Deskins held the county judge-executive position for one term, from 2003 to 2007.

Now, since no Republicans filed in that race, Deskins could run unopposed in November, unless there is a write-in candidate.

In the Hall-Harris race, some followed some interesting television ads. Harris brought up allegations of ethics violations by Hall after one of his companies won the contract for a sewer line project without a bid. Harris had called Hall “corrupt.”

Pike County went with the state with regard to the heated U.S. Senate race. Democrat Allison Lundergan Grimes, who won the state’s Democratic bid, received 5, 332 votes, while incumbent Republican Mitch McConnell got 1,934 of his party’s votes in the eastern Kentucky county.

Freddie Lewis won the race for Pike County jailer. Via Facebook he said, “I want to take the time to thank each and every voter that exercised your right to vote in the election today.”

Kyle Lovern is sports editor for the Daily News. He can be contacted at klovern@civitasmedia.com or at 304-235-4242, ext. 33, or on Twitter @KyleLovern.