By Patrick Crowley
The Cincinnati Enquirer
The races are set in Northern Kentucky:
Contested mayoral races in two of the largest cities. Florence's long-time former county clerk running for City Council. A third Republican in the 4th Congressional District primary. And a divorced couple facing one another in Bellevue's council race.
Those are among highlights from Tuesday's filing deadline for the May primary and November general elections. Federal, statehouse and city council seats are up this year, though candidates for offices in smaller cities don't have to file until August.
A small group of political watchers gathered in Kenton County Clerk Bill Aylors' office Tuesday afternoon to see if there were any surprise, last-minute candidate filings.
"I want to see who my competition is," Covington City Commission candidate Jerry Stricker said just before the 4 p.m. filing deadline.
Stricker is one of 11 candidates in the City Commission race. The field will be thinned to eight in May.
Among those filing for Covington commissioner were three incumbents - Jerry Bamberger, Bernie Moorman and Alex Edmondson - and challengers that include lawyer Rob Sanders, real estate agent Neil Blunt, Jeff Sewell (husband of former Covington Business Council director Beth Sewell), former Covington school board member Hensley Jemmott and former Kenton County Surveyor Jimmy Williams.
Also in Covington - Northern Kentucky's largest city - two-term Mayor Butch Callery faces a challenge from newcomer Jeffrey Fletcher.
Elsewhere in Northern Kentucky:
In Newport, Mayor Tom Guidugli is challenged by Sam Gassert, while eight candidates have filed for the city's four commission seats. Incumbents Beth Fennell, Jan Knepshield, Jerry Peluso and Robbie Hall are running, along with challengers Johnny "TV" Peluso - who was mayor in the 1970s - Jeff Ballard, John Hayden and Rick Buechel.
Former Florence City Clerk Betsy Conrad, who retired last month after 21 years, is among 11 candidates - including all six incumbents - running for City Council in November.
In Bellevue, ex-spouses Steve and Brenda Guidugli are among nine candidates running for six seats. Steve Guidugli is a 15-year incumbent; Brenda Guidugli has never run for office. The couple divorced a few years ago.
"I can't say anything bad about her," Steve Guidugli said. "She's the mother of my children. We were business partners together in a bed-and-breakfast. We were married for almost 18 years. It's a little strange, but I'll still run on a platform that we have a good council that gets along and has gotten a lot done for the city."
"A lot of people have encouraged me to run over the years," Brenda Guidugli said. "Steve was a little shocked by my candidacy. But I'll just run like any other candidate, and we'll deal with it."
Higher taxes council passed last year helped attract a large field running for Independence City Council. Fifteen candidates filed to run for the six seats.
All six incumbents on Dayton City Council filed for re-election. Five challengers are also running.
U.S. Sen. Jim Bunning, a Southgate Republican, will face former state Sen. Barry Metcalf of Richmond in the primary. Bunning defeated Metcalf in the 1998 GOP primary.
According to the Kentucky secretary of state's Web site, John Kelly King, a Union Republican, has filed to run in the 4th Congressional District primary against Geoff Davis and Kevin Murphy. Democrat Nick Clooney did not draw any opposition.
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