Election 2014: Mayor’s race contested for 1st time since 2002

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A quiet last day sees few join race in the final hours

By Todd Martin

When the ballots are cast for the 2014 General Election, there will be a few new names to be considered, and voters will be asked to make some choices where they haven’t had to in recent years.

Incumbent Shelbyville Mayor Tom Hardesty will for the first time since 2002 have some company on the campaign trail this year. Hardesty, a Democrat, will square off against Jeff Tennill.

Tennill, a former chief code enforcement officer for the city, is running as a Republican and cited his time at city hall as his reason for running.

“I’ve seen a few things go on with the city, and with the county, that I think could have been handled differently,” he said. “Like the lawsuits over the sidewalks [where the city required homeowners to repair sidewalks or risk getting a lien put on their property]. I was still with the city at the time, and I didn’t really agree with how it was handled.”

Tennill also noted the city’s continued growth through annexation and development on the Shelbyville Bypass as other areas with which he has been in disagreement.

“I was there when the community worked on the plan for the bypass, and I feel like the city keeps changing its mind on what it wants to do along that corridor,” he said.

Hardesty, who is running for his fourth term, said he had opposition during his time on the city council and that it won’t change his campaign plan.

“I filed to run for re-election, and I plan to campaign like I always have and hope that I’m fortunate enough to get re-elected,” he said.

Although he hasn’t sought political office, Tennill said he has run for office within organizations.

“I just thought I’d give it a shot and see if people think the same as I do,” he said. “And hopefully I’ll have every Republicans out there to vote.”

And that isn’t the only race that will see more competition that it usually does.

Incumbent Democratic Sheriff Mike Armstrong won’t have to worry about a primary race, but three Republican candidates – Bruce Gentry, a 10-year sergeant with Shelbyville Police; Steven Ladden and Stewart Shirley, a former Shelbyville Police chief – will race for the right to run against him.

Armstrong has been sheriff for 11 years and is seeking his fourth term.

Mike Whitehouse, a Democrat who had served 27 years in District 7 on Shelby County Fiscal Court for 27 years, decided against running for a seventh term this year, and that has opened the floodgates for that area around Finchville and southeastern Simpsonville.

Four new candidates have filed for the office, including three Republicans – Doug Butler, Danny Eades and Stephen McGill – with the winner in the Primary Election on May 20 moving on to face Democrat Edward Doyle in the November.

McGill was the final person to file in the county on Tuesday, sliding in just before the 4 p.m. deadline.


Quiet day

Shelby County Clerk Sue Carole Perry said the last day wasn’t very busy.

“It’s been a pretty quiet day,” she said.

Only eight candidates filed for office during the final three days.

Norris Beckley waited until the last hour to file his papers for a seat on Shelbyville City Council, submitting them at just about 3 p.m.

“It was kind of a last-minute decision, as you can tell since I’m here in the final hour,” Beckley said. “I had a lot of community members and former constituents ask me to run. So I pondered it, prayed on it, and talked to my wife about it. But I think I can bring some change and new ideas back to the council.”

Beckley, a Democrat, served on the city council in the mid-1980s and also ran in 2010 and 2012. He would face eight others in the General Election, including all six incumbents.