Many Carter commission incumbents not running

John Thompson • Apr 29, 2014 at 4:44 PM

ELIZABETHTON — The Carter County Republican primary is still more than two months away, but one outcome is already certain: Whatever the voters decide, there will be major changes in the county government for the next term.

More than half of the county commissioners have chosen not to run next year, including some of the top leaders. Commission Chairman Thomas “Yogi” Bowers, Budget Committee Chairman Harry Sisk, Financial Management Committee Chairwoman Jo Ann Blankenship, former Carter County Tomorrow Chairman Steve Lowrance and Landfill Committee Chairman Joel Street are among those not seeking another term on the county legislative body. Street has chosen to run for county mayor.

The entire list of candidates choosing not to seek re-election includes: Lawrence Hodge, 1st District; Street and Richard Winters, 2nd District; Sisk, 3rd District; Bowers and Lowrance, 4th District; Charlie Bayless and Blankenship, 5th District; Ken Arney and Steve Chambers, 6th District; Russell Kyte and Scott Sams, 7th District; and Bill Armstrong and Pat Hicks, 8th District.

Three county officeholders are also retiring, Sessions Court Judge John Walton, Highway Superintendent Jack Perkins and Circuit Court Clerk John Paul Mathes. Two other officeholders, Mayor Leon Humphrey and Sheriff Chris Mathes, face tough challenges in both the primary and the August general election.

Humphrey will face Street in the Republican primary. The winner of the primary faces 4th House District Rep. Kent Williams, who is running as an independent, in the August general election.

Mathes faces retired Tennessee Highway Patrolman Dexter Lunceford in the Republican primary. The primary winner faces James Parrish, a retired lieutenant colonel in the Army and former chief deputy who is running as an independent in the August general election.

Five candidates are running to succeed Perkins. All are entered in the Republican primary. They are: Roger Colbaugh, Ricky Guinn, Hubert C. Lewis, Steve Pierce and Jason Shell.

Five candidates are running to succeed Mathes as clerk of Circuit Court. Four are running in the Republican primary: Johnny Blankenship, Tammy Kyviakidis, Donna McKinney and Frank Peters. The winner of the primary will face independent candidate John Buddy Street in the August general election.

In the Sessions Court race, Keith Bowers and Jason Holly are running in the Republican primary to succeed Walton. The winner will face independent Misty Buck in the general election.

Three officeholders face no opposition for re-election: Register of Deeds Jody Bristol, County Clerk Mary Gouge and Trustee Randal Lewis.

There is a crowded field In many of the races for the County CommissionIn the 1st District, incumbents Buford Peters and Willie Campbell face six newcomers in the primary: William Dewey Birchfield, Seven Mark Blevins, Gary W. Perry, Jerry Proffitt, Gary L. Sams and Freddie Taylor. The winners of the primary face no opposition in the general election.

In the 2nd District, the lone incumbent, Nancy Brown, will run against four candidates in the primary: Paul E. Campbell, Richard Derrick Guinn, Mike Hill and former commission member Al Meehan. The top three finishers in the primary will face independent candidates John Bland and Pamella Braswell in the general election.

There are only three candidates for three 3rd District seats in the Republican primary. That means incumbent Ronnie Trivett and newcomers Karen Depew and Billy Peters will move on to the August general election to face three independents, including incumbent Charles Von Cannon and newcomers Bobby D. Tester and Howell Woods.

There are four candidates in the 4th District primary for three seats. These include incumbent L.C. Tester and newcomers Isaiah Grindstaff, Jeff Hughis, and Danny Ward.

The three finalists face no opposition in August.

In the 5th District, the lone incumbent, Bobbie Gouge-Dietz, will run against four candidates in the Republican primary: Harmon Duncan, Ross Garland, Timothy Holdren and Scott Snell. The top three finishers will face independent Vincent Hawkins in August.

The 6th District will once again be a crowded field. All six candidates in the Republican primary are newcomers. They include Gary Bailey, James Dabbondanza, Melvin Jack, Randall Jenkins, Larry Doc Miller and Thomas Smith. The three winners will face two independents in the August general election, including incumbent John Lewis and newcomer Eugene Edney.

There are only two candidates for three seats in the 7th District. That means newcomers Richard Burleson and Tyrone Scott Simerly will be representing the Republican ticket against four independents in August. The independents include incumbent Sonja Culler and newcomers Bobby Blevins, Lester Hubbard and Ray Lyons.

The 8th District race features one incumbent, Robert Gobble, and five newcomers contesting three seats. The newcomers include Robert G. Carroll, Michael G. Hardin, James W. Hughes, Cody McQueen and David Nelson. There are no challengers facing the Republican nominees in August.

There is a chance some of the candidates may drop out. All candidates have until next Thursday to withdraw from the race. Past that dates, the names that will appear on the ballots will be locked in.

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