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West, Knight advance in Hopkinsville mayor’s race

Hoptown Chronicle

Republican James R. Knight Jr. and Democrat Alethea West will face each other in the Hopkinsville mayor’s race in November after winning their respective primaries on Tuesday.

West, 49, an educator who currently serves as the Ward 3 city council member, beat her primary opponent, retired city firefighter Michael Pendleton, 47, by a vote of 1,035 to 880. She received 54.05% percent of the votes cast.

Alethea West

Knight, 52, who runs his family’s appliance business, beat Vince Farrell, 46, the pastor of Journey Church, by a vote of 1,006 to 652. Knight had 60.68% of the votes in their race.

James Knight

West is the first woman to run for mayor since Sherry Jeffers won the office in 1981. Jeffers is the only woman who has ever served as Hopkinsville mayor.

“I’m feeling super excited and taking a lot of deep breaths,” West said Tuesday night.

Although she had to give up running for another term on the council to seek’s the Democratic nomination for mayor, West said she was comfortable taking a chance on the higher office. She said she was willing to accept what voters would decide.

West’s campaign platform included advocating for workforce training, youth development and home ownership programs to reduce the high percentage of rental properties in the city. She said she would establish a homelessness coalition and a small business development office.

West celebrated the win in her home with friends and family members, including several who came in from Dallas, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Indianapolis and Owensboro. She said neighbors cooked for the gathering.

Knight’s campaign focused on supporting small business and recruiting industry. He stressed fiscal responsibility to keep up with the city’s pension obligations.

This is Knight’s second campaign for mayor. He also ran two years ago in a special election and lost to Wendell Lynch, who is now serving out the unexpired term of Carter Hendricks. Lynch chose not to run again this year.

Knight said this campaign was different because he wasn’t limited by COVID-19, which made it difficult to meet voters in person two years ago.

“I thought I could win if I could talk to people,” he said Tuesday night. “Now I’m going to try to talk to everyone in Hopkinsville. I believe people want to see you and talk to you.”

Knight and members of his family spent many afternoons knocking on doors, and he stood on various street corners two to three mornings a week with a campaign sign. He said his family, including his mother, wife and children, deserved a lot of credit for making time to campaign for him.

This story was originally published by the Hoptown Chronicle.

Jennifer P. Brown is the founder and editor of Hoptown Chronicle.
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