David Ermold, right, files to run for Rowan County Clerk in Kentucky as a clerk Kim Davis on Wednesday.
(AP Photo/Adam beam)
MOREHEAD, Ky. – David Ermold returned to the Rowan County courthouse Wednesday, almost two years after writer Kim Davis refused to give him a marriage license, because he was gay.
Only this time, he did not want a license. He wants Davis’ job.
Ermold county clerk executed and submitted on Wednesday, in the hope of a challenge for the woman who said two years ago to him: “the authority of God,” prohibited her from compliance with a U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized effectively gay marriage in the country. Ermold, and others sued, and Davis spent five days in jail, a Federal judge. She emerged to an enthusiastic rally on the jailhouse lawn, arm-in-arm with a Republican presidential candidate, as a newly crowned Martyr for some conservatives.
In the two years since then, have things calmed down in this Appalachian town formerly known for a college basketball team at Morehead State University, qualified occasionally for the NCAA tournament. Last month, Davis announced she would again run and face the voters for the first time since the refusal to issue marriage licenses. Three other people have also filed to run against her, including Elwood Caudill Jr, lost to Davis by only 23 votes in the 2014 primaries.
But Caudill, how many people in Morehead, Davis and gay marriage want to talk. Ermold.
“I think we have to deal with the circumstances and the consequences of what happened,” Ermold said. “I don’t think the other candidates are looking at a larger message. I have an obligation to do here, really, this, and the things in order.”
Wednesday, Ermold, and his man was sitting on the Desk of Davis, as a candidate, filed his papers for office. Davis smiled and greeted them, chat with them about the state pension system and the upcoming Christmas holidays. She made sure that Ermold had all of his papers and signatures to file for office, quietly the old hymn “Jesus Paid It All, humming,” as her fingers clacked across a keyboard.
When it was over, she stood up and shook hands with Ermold, to say to him: “May the best candidate win.”
“It will be good, I’m sure,” Davis told reporters about the election. Asked if she thought she deserved to be re-elected, Davis said: “It is up to the people. I think I do a good job.”
Davis did not object to the issuing marriage licenses now that the state legislature has changed the law so that your name is not on the license. You went in the office for nearly three decades, most of the time the work for her mother, until she retired. Davis was selected in 2014 as a Democrat. But after the same-sex was marriage legal, the state’s then-Democratic Governor refused to remove issue an executive order, the names of employees of marriage licenses. Davis said she felt betrayed by their party and switched their registration to Republican.
Davis’ new political party could be a problem in Rowan County. While the Republicans Donald Trump, with an overwhelming majority, won the County, while the 2016 presidential elections, almost all of the local elected officials, the Democrats have always been.
Tim Keeton, a 56-year-old retired nurse, said he has not decided whom he votes, for the election next year. He said Davis is doing a good job as a clerk, but said he was troubled by their decision not to issue the marriage licenses.
“I think that it just blew and put us in a bad light in a variety of ways,” he said.
Ermold the candidacy has already attracted some national attention. Patton Oswalt, the comedian and actor, sent asked Ermold a tweet on Wednesday: “Anything I can do to help?”
Ermold grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia and came to Kentucky 19 years ago with his friend, now husband, David Moore. He has two masters degrees, one in English and the other in communication, and teaches English at the University of Pikeville. He says he is more than qualified to have the office run, the track of County records, including real estate transactions and car registrations.
And he said his campaign is not the sole focus on LGBT rights. He said he was tired of the “divide and conquer” style of politics that has come to dominate most elections, where the candidates take to energize attitudes of some voters while angering all the other.
“People … are arguing again at home and fighting each other and fighting on the social media,” he said. “This campaign that we put together, is to bring about unity and people together and the restoration of justice.”