Supporters of late Judge-Executive candidate host watch party
David Howley (Source: Howley campaign website)
Supporters of David Howley at the watch party
CRESTWOOD, KY (WAVE) – The family of an Oldham County Judge-Executive candidate, who passed away nearly a week ago, said they wanted to see the race through to the end.
David Howley, 51, suffered a heart attack on May 14. His name remained on the ballot and a last minute decision prompted the votes to be counted.
It wasn't the Judge-Executive race anybody hoped for in Oldham County. Incumbent David Voegele won the primary election by default and vote totals, but both sides agree this isn't the way anybody would want to win.
Inside a restaurant in Crestwood on an election night, it's not the celebration Howley's family hoped for.
"He was motivated, he was energetic," said Marisa Cunningham, Howley's campaign manager. "He loved walking door to door, he did it by himself, he did it in the rain, and he did it when he had the horrible cold spring up through April. You couldn't stop him."
Family and friends of the Oldham County police officer say he was put on this earth to serve others. That's why he ran for Judge-Executive.
"Between EMS, fire, he worked for Louisville Metro Police, transferred to La Grange and eventually came to Oldham County," said Chris Morris, a fellow officer and close friend. "It was definitely his passion."
A heart attack cut Howley's dream short day less than a week from the election. His name remained on the ballot and a last minute order by a Circuit Court judge ruled his votes would be counted, but Kentucky statute states the votes will not be recorded. When all the votes were in Voegele took the race with 69% of the vote. Howley received 31%.
"State law made me the winner automatically, I would have much preferred the race went on as it was intended and that he was still here and that we could have a resolution that would a little easier to accept for everybody in the community," said Voegele.
Howley's wife Cheryll and his daughter Courtney decided to still have a watch party because they knew that's what he would have wanted. While it's not an election win, it's a celebration of life and remembering a man who loved ones say you could never forget.
"David had a lot of people all over the county supporting him and wanting to see the results of what their work accomplished, so Cheryll and Courtney needed to see it as well for a sense of closure," said Cunningham.
"We're going to miss him," said Morris.
Voegele will not face a Democratic opponent in the November election. This will be his second term.