David Ermold has a score to settle with Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis. Davis made headlines a couple years back by refusing to give marriage licenses to gay couple in spite of the Supreme Court decision legalizing the practice. Her defiance drew battlelines across the nation as people took sides on whether or not an elected official could decline to perform acts required of her office due to personal reasons.
Ermold was someone who had been denied a marriage license by Davis, so yeah, he had a score to settle with her.
Rather than filing a petty lawsuit designed to punish her or anything like that, he’s going with that age-old American custom for dealing with a recalcitrant public official: He’s decided to run against her.
Ermold announced he was running via a Facebook message on his campaign website.
It’s official. I’m in! I am proud to announce my entrance into the race for Rowan County Clerk! I am running to restore the people’s confidence in our clerk’s office and because I believe that the leaders of our community should put the needs of their constituents first and should be an example of integrity and fairness. Please visit my campaign website at www.davidermold.comwhere you can learn how to support our mission.
Ermold isn’t alone in running against Davis. Three others are taking on the embattled county clerk who took office in 2014 after assisting the previous county clerk, her mother, for decades. Among those running against her is Elwood Caudill Jr., who Davis narrowly beat in the Democratic primary in 2014.
Davis has since changed her party to Republican.
Most of the opponents have no interest in talking about gay marriage. After all, that’s all settled and done with.
Ermold, however, does.
“I think we need to deal with the circumstances and the consequences of what happened,” Ermold told the Chicago Tribune. “I don’t think the other candidates are looking at a larger message. I have an obligation here, really, to do this and to set things right.”
Of course, that will raise questions as to whether the obligation is to really set things right or to engage in identity politics in order to obtain an office that normally has nothing to do with identity politics.
Judging by what I know of smaller, rural communities, that tactic is likely to backfire spectacularly in Ermold’s face if he’s unable to face the fact that there are other issues voters care about, and probably care about far more than how he was treated years ago now.