Hite seeks second term as county attorney

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By Randy Patrick

Nelson County Attorney Matthew Hite is seeking a second full term.

He filed Nov. 13 for the May 22 Democratic primary.

The general election is next November.

Hite was an assistant to former County Attorney John Kelley when Kelley retired in November 2012 because his son, Jack Kelley, was a candidate for district judge. Judge Kelley was also an assistant county attorney at the time.

Hite ran unopposed in the 2014 election and is so far unopposed for this one.

The filing deadline is Jan. 30.

“As an assistant and now a county attorney, I’ve been there about 18 or 19 years,” Hite said Tuesday after a meeting of the Nelson County Fiscal Court. “I think it’s the greatest job on earth, really enjoy what I’m doing. I’m happy doing it and I hope people agree with me and think I’ve done a good job and my office has done a good job, and I look forward to the future.”

If he’s re-elected, Hite said, his plan for the next four years is to “stay the course.”

“I think we’ve got a pretty good system in what we’re doing. I treat everybody fairly, as fairly as I can in prosecution and everything else we do,” he said.

He isn’t interested in running for any other office in the near future, Hite said.

Asked whether he expects to have opposition in the Democratic primary or general election, Hite answered: “I haven’t heard of anybody, but you never can tell. We’ll keep our nose to the grindstone.”

The county attorney’s job is a dual state and county position. In addition to representing the Fiscal Court and elected county leaders in their official capacities, he is also the chief prosecutor for the state district court in the county.

Hite, 48, grew up in Bardstown, graduated from Bardstown High School, earned an undergraduate degree in business and law degree from the University of Kentucky, worked for an insurance company and practiced law in Louisville before joining Kelley’s private practice in 1998, then also joined the County Attorney’s Office during Kelley’s tenure.

Other candidates who have filed for the 2018 election:

County Magistrates Keith Metcalfe, Sam Hutchins and Bernard Ice, all Democrats, and Jeff Lear, the lone Republican. Democrat Jerry Hahn has said he may not run again.

Jailer Dorcas Figg has filed for re-election and faces two Democratic primary opponents, Michael P. Johnson and Deputy Sheriff John “Buck” Snellen, who filed Nov. 22.

Kenny Fogle has filed as a Democrat for county judge-executive, and the incumbent, Dean Watts, also a Democrat, has said he intends to file.

Sheriff Ed Mattingly does not intend to seek re-election. Two of his deputies, Ramon Pineiroa and Kaelen Matthews, have filed for the position in the Democratic primary.

County Clerk Elaine Filiatreau has so far not said whether she is going to run again, but one of her deputy clerks, Gail Brown, has filed as a Democrat.

Candidates for nonpartisan municipal, judicial and school board positions have until August to file their papers. State legislative and congressional elections will also be on the ballot for the 2018 election.