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By JOHN FRIEDLEIN firstname.lastname@example.org HARDIN COUNTY — Local voters almost played a meaningful role in this year's presidential primary — a narrative that for months has held the world's attention.
Even though pundits believe Hillary Clinton has lost the Democratic battle, local voters on Tuesday will weigh in on the contest — which her husband, Bill, during a Thursday visit to Radcliff said was still relevant. They'll also pick nominees for other national and state races.
During a Friday visit to Elizabethtown, Secretary of State Trey Grayson discussed Kentuckians' waning attention. "Interest in this race doesn't seem to be as high, given the fact that most people believe that Barack Obama is going to win," he said.
Knowing the winner before voting is nothing new in Kentucky, one of the last states to vote. This time North Carolina and Indiana residents quieted Kentucky's voice in the Democratic primary last week when they gave Obama enough of a push to effectively seal up the nomination.
Grayson said he expects a 25 to 30 percent turnout for Democrats on Tuesday and about 15 percent for Republicans. He guessed 65 percent of voters will participate in the November general election, which will include Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona.
Hardin County Clerk Kenny Tabb said as of Friday morning his office had received about 500 absentee ballots, a higher number than this time four years ago.
Kentucky has closed primaries, meaning voters can cast ballots only in races between candidates of their own parties.
Both Democratic and Republican candidates are vying for seats on Tuesday's ballot.
Besides the presidential races, both parties have candidates running for U.S. Senate. On the GOP side, truck driver Daniel Essek is running a longshot campaign against incumbent Mitch McConnell — one of the nation's top Republicans.
As for the Democrats, seven candidates are competing to take on McConnell in what has developed basically into a race between two Louisville businessmen. A SurveyUSA poll taken earlier this month shows Greg Fischer closing his deficit with Bruce Lunsford, but Fischer still trails by 18 points. The poll of 1,600 Kentucky adults has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.9 percent.
In the U.S. House race, two Daviess County Democrats — state Sen. David Boswell and County Judge-Executive Reid Haire — are running for the 2nd District seat Ron Lewis, R-Cecilia, held for 14 years.
Another race that will appear on some local ballots is Democrat Jimmie Lee, an incumbent state representative from Elizabethtown versus Glenn Fonda. Lee beat Fonda in a primary two years ago by 85 percent in the 25th district race. John Friedlein can be reached at (270) 505-1746.