Sharp County Judge Gene Moore will seek a second term and will run again as an independent candidate, he told Talk Business & Politics. Moore, 57, thinks county offices should be non-partisan.
The offices are filled with people who have important jobs to do, and political persuasion shouldn’t be part of the calculation, he said. Not running in one of the traditional parties has its disadvantages, but Moore said it’s the best option for him.
“I’m going to serve all the people whether they’re Democrats, Republicans, independents, or with some other party. I’ve got a great bunch of folks that help me,” he said.
The former county road foreman and Office of Emergency Management Director, decided more than two years ago he would follow the model of former Sharp County Judge Larry Brown and run as an independent. Sharp County has traditionally been a Democratic county, but in recent years Republicans have made significant headway in local elections.
Moore was involved in a runoff in 2016. He defeated Republican Dustin Rogers by a 66% to 34% margin (1,368 to 705 votes) in the runoff. Many people vote straight party tickets and that means he has to work harder to meet as many voters in the county as he can. Raising money can also be difficult. Many voters donate to one party or the other, and a countywide campaign can cost thousands of dollars, he said.
There are several hurdles running as an independent, but there are advantages, too, he said. Candidates for office can be saddled with dogmas attached to a particular party, and it can turnoff voters from the other party, he said. When he meets voters they seem receptive to his decision to be independent.
Moore spent 14 years as the county road foreman, and he worked about 28 years for the county before his election ot the judge’s office. A life-long resident in the county, Moore said he’s ready to hit the road and plead his case to the voters. Roads are always an issue in any county, and they’re among his top priorities. His long tenure with the county exposed him to most of the people in the county, and he thinks those relationships could propel him into a second term.
“I’m truly blessed to live in this county,” he said.