MURRAY — By mid-morning Tuesday, Stephanie Perlow was able to realize something that only a chosen few get to do.
After her first attempt at running for public office, she was 1-0.
Perlow’s first voyage as a candidate not only ended successfully, but it ended with her earning the most votes of any candidate on the Calloway County ballot during the 2020 Kentucky primary election. As the results were released by the Calloway County Clerk’s Office Tuesday morning, Perlow had emerged with a total of 5,290 votes in her race for Kentucky 42nd Judicial Circuit Family Court Judge. Those numbers increased to 9,673 when the Calloway numbers were combined with those from the other county the 42nd serves, Marshall, giving her a margin of nearly 7,000 votes over her closest opponent, Marshall County attorney Ryan Yates.
“I hope it stays that way,” said Perlow, who will meet Yates again in the November general election. Perlow, who resides in Murray, was appointed to the 42nd position in March to fill the unexpired term of longtime 42nd Judge Rob Mattingly, who retired in November.
When first reached Tuesday, she had not been informed of the results.
“Yeah, I just stepped off the bench and had come into my office,” she said. She then heard the numbers. “Oh wow! I’m more than happy with that. That’s more than I ever could have hoped for, and it’s hopefully a good sign for the future.”
Perlow said a key to her win was the presence of a third candidate, Marshall County attorney Catherine Fuller. She said this forced her to be very active with her campaign and she started early.
“I worked really hard on this from the time (Mattingly) announced his retirement all the way up until the election. We’ve eaten, slept and breathed this campaign. This is my lifelong dream and I just wanted to really go out there and show everybody that I’m passionate about this job,” she said.
However, there was something waiting for Perlow and every other candidate in Kentucky in March and that was the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic. She said it tremendously altered how she tried to reach voters.
“I started in January going door-to-door in Marshall, then, when COViD hit, I had to stop that. I couldn’t go door to door anymore and then I was wanting to meet as many people in the community as I could at different fairs, parades, church breakfasts, those kinds of things, and I couldn’t do that anymore either. I couldn’t shake hands and make connections,” she said. “We were scheduled to be in the Tater Day parade (the first Monday in April in Benton) and, of course, that was one of the first big things that was closed down.
“I’m so thankful a third person got into this race because it forced me to go door-to-door in early January and I was able to do that for two months, at least. Think about if only two of us were in this race. You don’t want to inundate the public with your face every day in the newspaper and on Facebook for a primary, when you know that the two of you were going on to November anyway. I’m so glad I had to start early.”
So, now 1-0 in her political career, Perlow said she will take a little time off before getting her engine started for the November campaign. She said she wanted to thank her campaign committees in both Marshall and Calloway counties for their efforts so far, which included a massive effort to send campaign materials to voters via mail.