Kim Davis to Seek Reelection as Rowan County Clerk

Kim Davis

Kim Davis, who famously went to jail for her resistance to marriage equality, is running for reelection as clerk of Rowan County, Ky.

Davis will seek election to a second term in 2018, Mat Staver, the Liberty Counsel attorney who represented her in her legal battle, told the Associated Press. Filing of papers for the 2018 election starts Wednesday.

“She loves her job and she loves the people,” Staver said. “I’m sure [the election] will probably have more attention because of who she is, but you know she doesn’t have any major concerns about it.”

Davis shut down all marriage license operations in the county after the U.S. Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling in 2015, saying her religious beliefs would not allow her to approve licenses for same-sex couples; at one point she called it a “heaven or hell” issue for her. Several couples sued, and a federal judge ordered Davis to issue licenses without discrimination. For defying that order, she was found in contempt of court and spent five days in jail. She was released once her deputies took over the licensing of same-sex marriages, and the state eventually accommodated her religious objections by taking clerks’ names off marriage licenses.

Davis was first elected in 2014 as a Democrat. She succeeded her mother, Jean Bailey, who had been Rowan County clerk for 37 years. In 2015, Davis switched her party affiliation to Republican.

In July of this year, U.S. District Judge David Bunning, the same one who sent Davis to jail for defying his order, ruled that the state of Kentucky must cover the fees for the American Civil Liberties Union lawyers who represented the couples suing Davis. The fees amount to more than $220,000, and the state has appealed.

That may become a campaign issue, said Chris Hartman, director of the Kentucky Fairness Campaign. “It’s hard for her to make the argument that the $220,000 she has cost taxpayers is a good value for Rowan County residents,” he told the AP. But so far, no one else has announced a candidacy for county clerk.

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