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Republican primary to decide races for Unicoi County Sheriff and six seats on commission

Sue Guinn Legg • Apr 28, 2018 at 10:33 PM

ERWIN — With no Democratic or independent candidates qualified to run for Unicoi County sheriff in the August general election, Tuesday’s Republican Primary will determine the outcome of a three-man race for the office of the county’s top law enforcement officer.

The three Republican contenders squaring off in the primary are current Sheriff Mike Hensley; Jimmy Erwin, a longtime and former lead officer for the sheriff’s department who resigned in fall 2016 to take charge the troubled MedicOne ambulance service; and Johnson City police officer Robert McCurry.

The May 1 Republican primary will pit Unicoi County Mayor Greg Lynch against Unicoi County Board of Education member Garland “Bubba” Evely. While the winner of the mayoral primary will advance to the August general election race against independent candidates Johnny Day and Richard Preston, Tuesday’s Republican primary will also settle contested races for six seats on the county commission.

With no Democratic or independent commission candidates in the running in the county’s 1st District, the Republican primary will determine the winners of a six-way race for three seats between current Commission Chairwoman Marie Rice, incumbent Commissioners Loren Thomas and Gene Wilson and newcomers Eddie Bolton, Jamie Harris and Damon Wilson.

Likewise, with no independent or Democratic commission candidates qualified to run in the 3rd District, Tuesday’s Republican primary will determine the outcome of a five-candidate race for three seats on the commission.

The candidates are incumbent Commissioners John Mosley, Bridget Peters and Todd Wilcox and challengers Billy R. Harkins and Stephen Hendrix.

In the race for three 2nd District seats on the commission, incumbent Commissioners Kenneth Garland, Glenn White and Jason Harris will be challenged in the primary by Michael Harris and Matthew K. Rice. The three winners will go up against independents Rob Martin and Lisa Brewington White in the August general election.

Unicoi County Trustee Paul Berry, Circuit Court Clerk Darren Shelton, County Clerk Mitzi Bowen, Register of Deeds Debbie Tittle and Road Superintendent Terry Haynes will all run unopposed in the primary.

Three unopposed candidates for constable will also be elected in the primary without opposition in the August general election.

The constable candidates are 1st District, Arthur Metcalf; 2nd District, Wayne Edwards; and 3rd District, Timmy Lewis.

Email Sue Guinn Legg at slegg@johnsoncitypress.com. Follow her on Twitter @sueleggjcpress. Like her on Facebook at facebook.com/sueleggjcpress.

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