A large field looks to be taking shape for the Warren County executive’s race with incumbent John Pelham apparently choosing not to seek another term.
Ten potential candidates had picked up qualifying papers from the election office as of Friday. The number includes five Democrats, three Republicans and two independents. Qualifying ends Feb. 20 at noon.
Among the Democrats is a former county executive, Kenneth Rogers, who presently is serving as a county commissioner. A fellow member of the commission, Herschel Wells, is also seeking the office on the Democratic ticket. Joining them in eyeing a run as Democrats are Hackett Lance, Jerry W. Roberts and Kristopher Gore.
Meanwhile, for the first time in county history, there could three candidates seeking the same office from the Republican side. Picking up papers was John Shields Jr., who made a run for the office four years ago. Joining him in considering a run is McMinnville Alderman Michael Neal and County Commissioner Blaine Wilcher.
Both Neal and Wilcher remain noncommittal as they explore their options. Neal has found he can run for county executive while maintaining his position as city alderman, thereby clearing one hurdle for a potential run. Wilcher has picked up papers both to run for county executive and to defend his county commission seat.
“I will decide in the next few weeks, if not sooner, which one to run for,” Wilcher said.
While eight men are potentially running for their party’s nomination, only one from each party will emerge in May to advance to the general election in August. There, a couple of independent candidates may be waiting. Both Jeffery Bottoms and Jonathan Ferrell have picked up papers as independents. They would face no primary, meaning their first contest would be in August.
County Executive John Pelham has not officially ruled out a run but he did downplay the chances of seeking re-election. Pelham has not picked up papers to run.