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With just 27 days left before the primary election on May 18, candidates will be out in full force spreading their messages to all that will listen.
U.S. Senate candidates Rand Paul, Trey Grayson and Bill Johnson have stopped over in the county, and magisterial and constable races are becoming more active.
But perhaps the biggest election facing voters in Shelby County will be for the District 20 State Senate seat being vacated by a retiring Gary Tapp (R-Shelbyville).
Democrats David Eaton and John Spainhour and Republicans David Glauber and Paul Hornback have had some similarities in their approaches to reach the voters in Bullitt, Shelby and Spencer counties.
Attended forums – check.
Web site – check.
Facebook page – check.
Meeting the masses – check, check, check and check.
Reaching the public is what’s put the differences in their campaigns, and Glauber’s method might be the most unusual.
You may have seen him standing in Simpsonville at the Buck Creek Road and U.S. 60 intersection, or in Shelbyville on Highways. 55 and 53, or even in Hillview, Mount Washington or Taylorsville.
“It might be a little more humiliating, but I do believe it’s effective,” he said. “As opposed to most signs that just have a candidates name, my has my platform on it – pro gun, pro life, small government and individual responsibility. I feel like that’s a good way for people to see me and see what I stand for.”
Glauber, who is a property appraiser from Bullitt County, said he got the idea from seeing the Little Caesar’s Pizza employees standing roadside to advertise.
Eaton, Hornback and Spainhour say they have gone for a more personal approach, trying to get face time with individual voters.
“I’m trying to get around and meet as many people as I can,” said Hornback, a farmer from Shelby County. “I try to meet groups, anywhere from two to two hundred, and tell them about my conservative values – pro life, 2nd Amendment, small business and creating new jobs.”
Eaton, the city administrator for Simpsonville, has taken that step and several others, leading him to meet as many as he can going door-to-door across all three counties.
“Last Thursday evening I went to about 70 homes where I actually talked to somebody,” he said. “On Saturday, I’m sure it was well over 100.”
Eaton said that personal touch is what he’s hoping helps spread his core beliefs – educations, more jobs, family values and a commitment to public service.
Spainhour, an attorney from Bullitt County, said he has combined those two approaches, reaching out through several public meetings and going door to door.
“I’ve gone door-to-door to Democrat voting houses, and I’m trying to appear in all the newspapers,” he said. “With a district this large, it’s important to get your name and your beliefs out there for everyone to see.”
The difference between Spainhour and the other three candidates is his focus on certain areas. Eaton, Glauber and Hornback have said they’ve tried not to focus on singular areas but on the district as a whole, Spainhour has narrowed his focus on Shelby and Spencer counties.
“I feel that it makes more sense to focus on Shelby and Spencer because I’ve lived in Bullitt County for 35 years and been involved in a number of different things,” he said. “I feel like people here, naturally, know me better.”
Eaton and Hornback both said they’ve been able to fund all or close to all of their small campaigns so far with contributions from backers, and Glauber and Spainhour said they have had to dip into their own pockets a little more.
“About a third of what I’ve spent has been my own money,” Glauber said. “But I’m operating on a pretty tiny budget.”
Spainhour said to reach a district this large he has had to reach into his own pocket. Between newspaper advertisements and brochures and signs, he has spent some of his own money.
Glauber was the only one who said he would change his approach if he were to win the primary.
“Since this is my first election, I don’t really know what I’m doing,” he said. “I’ve relied on my business marketing knowledge, and it’s not really the same thing. So I’d probably hire someone that knows how to run a campaign.”
Spainhour said he would increase his presence in the media, possible adding more ads and moving into radio as well.
Eaton and Hornback, however, both said they’d stay the course.
“I’m not trying to do anything different,” Hornback said. “We’ll find out if that works with the election.”
Eaton said continued hard work and a few more pairs of sneakers would be all he needed.
“I filed my papers in early July and started going door-to-door then,” he said. “I’ll continue doing that, trying to reach as many people as I can.”
State senate candidates on the Web
Facebook.com -- David Eaton For State Senate page
Facebook.com – David Glauber page
Facebook.com – Hornback For Senate page
Facebook.com – John Spainhour page