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Harris ousts Wolfe on state GOP committee

August 8th, 2014 12:08 am by Max Hrenda

Harris ousts Wolfe on state GOP committee

Kent Harris, left, unseated Jonesborough Mayor Kelly Wolfe as District 3's Republican state committeeman after Thursday's election.

Tennessee’s Republican Executive Committee received a new member after District 3’s challenger earned a strong showing of support from Carter County.

On Thursday night, challenger Kent Harris beat out incumbent Kelly Wolfe by more than 600 votes to become the district’s new Republican state committeeman.

Harris tallied 12,797 total votes while Wolfe earned 12,099, for a difference of 698 votes.

Although Wolfe posted victories in both Washington and Unicoi counties — with respective votes of 7,594 and 1,526 to Harris’ respective 6,999 and 1,202 — Harris received a large boost from Carter County, which awarded him 4,596 votes to Wolfe’s 2,979, for 60 percent of the county’s voter turnout. That advantage in Carter County was enough to push Harris in front of Wolfe, where he would remain throughout the course of the election.

Phone calls made to Harris on Thursday night were not returned.

While the Republican committeeman election was decided by less than 700 votes, the district’s Democratic race proved to be closer. Incumbent Committeeman Mike Hampton led challenger Thomas Jessee by more than 100 votes at press time. Hampton earned 1,116 votes while Jessee tallied 948, for a difference of 168 total votes. At press time, Hampton posted better numbers in Carter and Unicoi counties; in Carter County, he earned 339 votes to Jessee’s 246, while he took 174 Unicoi County votes to Jessee’s 62. Jessee appeared to come out ahead in Washington County, however, with 640 votes to Jessee’s 603.

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