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Salyersville Independent

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Mayor’s race to be decided in court

SALYERSVILLE – With the circuit court case involving the mayor’s race still pending and the challenged candidate winning by 10 votes, the outcome of that election will be decided in court.

In the Magoffin County General Election, former mayor Stanley Howard won by 10 votes, 336 to 326, against incumbent Mayor James “Pete” Shepherd.

On Monday, November 7, Mayor Shepherd filed a petition to challenge Howard’s qualifications as a “bona fide” candidate.

According to the petition, Shepherd alleges Howard lives approximately 500 feet outside of the city limits, though the law dictates that mayor candidates must live in the city they file for office.

The petition included maps from the Kentucky Secretary of State’s Office and from the Magoffin County Property Valuation Administration, showing where the official maps indicate the city limit boundaries, as well as the location of Howard’s residence as reported on his candidate filing forms.

Shepherd asked the court for injunctive relief in the form of a preliminary injunction against the Magoffin County Board of Elections, directing them to not count any votes on behalf of Stanley Howard.

As an alternative, Shepherd asked that a court order be issued directing the Magoffin County Board of Elections not to certify the election results for the mayor’s race from the November 8, 2022, election until the matter can be determined in court.

Civil summonses were issued to the Magoffin County Board of Elections, in care of Renee Arnett-Shepherd, and Stanley Howard, notifying them that legal actions had been filed against the two defendants, noting written defenses from the Board of Elections and Howard are required within 20 days or a default judgment may be taken.

On Monday, Circuit Judge Kim Childers entered an order for a hearing in the case for November 9, but that hearing was continued to November 18 at 10 a.m. after Howard’s attorney, John C. Collins motioned for a continuance and a phone conference was held with the judge and attorneys involved.

Pillersdorf and Collins both agreed to the terms set by Judge Childers that Magoffin County Clerk Renee Arnett Shepherd shall not certify the election results for the Salyersville mayor’s race until after the November 18 hearing and/or she receives an order from the judge.

The Independent will continue to report on this case as information is released.

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