I was enjoying a nice ho-hum drive to work Feb. 3,when the rear end of an SUV caught my eye, and I had to turn around to get another look.
Parked at the intersection of Main and Cross Main in New Castle, the SUV had a campaign sticker for Bob Cook for Judge-Executive on the back window.
The top of the sticker, of which I caught just a couple of words at first, was the part that made me turn my car around to take a second look.
“The candidate the newspaper doesn’t want you to know about. Shhh!”
With all due respect to Bob Cook, at that point, he had not filed — and still has not filed the petition of nomination, nor paid the $50 filing fee — to become a formal candidate. Because of that, he is not listed as a candidate on the Secretary of State’s election Web site.
Had the Local missed something? In our bi-weekly calls to the County Clerk’s office for candidate filings, we published every name we were given that filed to run as a candidate in the primary. Bob Cook never called the Local to tell us he was planning to run for judge-executive.
Once I got to work Feb. 3, I called Juanita Lashley’s office to find out what was going on. It was then that we learned that on Monday, Jan. 25, Cook filed a statement of candidacy. It would have been nice to have that information when we went to press Jan. 26, but we did not receive it. We cannot report information we do not have.
On Thursday, Jan. 28, Cook’s letter of intent was filed at the Henry County Clerk’s Office. It’s the letter of intent that’s critical. That letter enables the candidate to start raising and spending money before they actually file as a candidate complete with their petition of nomination, 100 signatures and $50 signing fee. In the letter, which was addressed to the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance, Cook declares that he intends to spend $3,000 or less during the election.
Again, this was information the Local didn’t receive or have, and Cook didn’t call and complain to us that we hadn’t printed his name in the paper as a candidate for judge-executive.
The candidate we don’t want you to know about? Hardly.
If anything, I want our readers to know as much information about Bob Cook, and every other candidate, as we can gather and report. And I write that with every ounce of sincerity in my body.
Only by doing that, can our readers make informed decisions about the people and offices for whom they are voting.
It’s awfully convenient that Cook would work with such a campaign slogan when he has made no attempt to contact our office to let us know he was declaring himself a candidate. It’s awfully convenient that he didn’t contact us to alert us to our apparently glaring omission once the paper came out.
For someone who seems so keen on getting his name out there, he has failed to make use of one of the best tools in which to do so. After all, the Local reaches more voters in Henry County than any other medium – and that includes the back window of an SUV parked in New Castle.
Whatever disagreement Bob Cook may have with our coverage of his ongoing — and yes, it is still ongoing — charges filed by planning and zoning, we will be delighted to publish word of his candidacy — once it becomes official. In fact, I eagerly await the day the county clerk, or better yet, Bob Cook himself, informs us that he has filed his completed petition for nomination and the requisite $50 fee.
For now, our focus is on the Primary election, scheduled for May 18. And for now, Bob Cook is not a candidate in that particular election. He will, at this point, receive mention in stories regarding the judge-executive’s race for which there won’t be much of a primary (both the Republican and Democratic candidates are unopposed), and therefore, not many stories, which means fewer opportunities for you to see Bob Cook’s name in print.
But Bob Cook and all the other candidates are, most definitely, potential elected officials we want you to know about.
Jonna can be reached at email@example.com