Three former Kenton County Judges-Executive have endorsed County Commissioner Kris Knochelmann in his bid to unseat fellow Republican and incumbent Judge-Executive Steve Arlinghaus in the May 20 primary.
There is no Democratic candidate.
Clyde Middleton, Dick Murgatroyd, and Ralph Drees, who all served as the county's top elected leader consecutively from the 1990s through 2008 are throwing their support behind the challenger.
“It’s not always been popular to be a Republican in Kenton County," Middleton said in a news release. "When his opponent was hosting fundraisers for Democrats, Kris was helping Republicans get elected. He has the vision and passion to take Kenton County in a better direction.”
“Kris is a leader in every sense of the word, his service as chairman of the Community Action Commission and his work with (the) Faith Community Pharmacy and St. Joe’s Parish Council," Murgatroyd said in the news release. "Kris cares about our community and will always do what he can to help those in need.”
“Kenton County will greatly benefit from Kris’s experience creating jobs and growing his family business right here in our community," Drees said. "Kris was a keen advocate for lower taxes and responsible budgeting when we served on the Fiscal Court together. I have no doubt he will continue to fight for the taxpayers.”
Knochelmann was first elected as a county commission in 2004 and served on the Fiscal Court while Drees was Judge-Executive.
Arlinghaus discounted the endorsements in a statement released on Wednesday.
"I’m not surprised by these endorsements," Arlinghaus said. "They all endorsed my previous opponent for judge-executive, Scott Kimmich. Kimmich is a good friend of my current opponent and he is active in his campaign.
"It is interesting that Kris Knochelmann’s endorsements come from former elected officials, some of them from many years ago. Knochelmann wants to return Kenton County to the old days of bloated government with deficit-spending budgets. My endorsements, on the other hand, are from current elected officials. In addition to the endorsement of U.S. Sen. Rand Paul and Kenton County Sheriff Chuck Korzenborn and County Commissioner Jon Draud, I also have received the endorsement of 13 sitting mayors in Kenton County."
Knochelmann was also endorsed by former US Senator Jim Bunning and former US Representative Geoff Davis.
“I am so humbled and blessed to have the support of such fine statesmen,” Knochelmann said in a statement on Wednesday, referencing the three former judges-executive. "I have looked up to Clyde, Dick, and Ralph for all of my adult life. It is kind of surreal to know that I have their support."
Photo: Knochelmann (left) and Arlinghaus