I’m sure there are plenty of things we could discuss today on the Week in Review, but yesterday was Election Day here in East Tennessee, so that means we’ll be talking politics, and winners and losers.
In a state-wide race that surprised many, former front-runners Diane Black and Randy Boyd failed to overtake outsider businessman Bill Lee, as Lee received 37% of the votes in the Republican primary for Governor of the great state of Tennessee.
Black had campaigned heavily on her relationship with President Donald Trump, promising to run the state as he runs the country, and touting her willingness to shake things up in her home state. Voters, it seems, likened her more to her Washington counterparts in the House, and opted for a true outsider in Lee, who comes into politics as a first-timer.
Lee will face Democrat Karl Dean in the November election for Governor. Dean received 77% of the state-wide votes in the Democratic primary.
Marsha Blackburn and Phil Bredesen ran away with the Republican and Democratic primaries for the Tennessee United States Senate seat up for grabs in November, facing little competition in either race. The Senate race is looking to be closer than expected as the election draws nearer, with former Governor Bredesen polling well across the state, and Blackburn holding her numbers throughout the summer.
The new senator will succeed retiring Republican Bob Corker.
Johnson City Republican Phil Roe moved a step closer Thursday to being elected to his sixth term in the U.S. House of Representatives, winning his primary and earning the right to face Democrat Marty Olsen in November.
Roe survived a challenge from Kingsport army veteran Todd McKinley by garnering 73.74 percent of the vote, compared to McKinley’s 16 percent.
Olsen, who decided to run for Congress after lawmakers attempted to repeal the Affordable Care Act, ran unopposed in Thursday’s Democratic primary.
In local elections, Joe Grandy overcame a number of attacks against his campaign, and narrowly defeated Independent James Reeves by 643 votes on Thursday night.
As a county commissioner and chairman of the Budget Committee, Grandy has been actively involved in county government since he was first elected to the commission eight years ago.
Grandy began his campaign by vowing to reduce the county’s overwhelming debt, but that message was largely overshadowed by constant criticism and allegations of wrongdoing from his opponents and their supporters during the election process.
Incumbent Suzy Williams and Jonesborough attorney Jim Wheeler won two of the seven contested races for the Washington County Commission, while former Unicoi County Sheriff Kent Williams was among eight candidates for County Commission who faced no challengers in the general election.
Other Republicans who had clear sailing on the ballot were incumbents Greg Matherly, Robbie Tester, Bryan Davenport, Phillip Carriger, Gary McAllister and Mike “Boots” Ford.
Likewise, Jodi Jones, a Democrat, faced no opposition in the general election.
Washington County Sheriff Ed Graybeal was one of five Republican candidates for county offices who breezed to victory without facing an opponent on Thursday’s ballot. The others were County Clerk Kathey Story, Circuit Court Clerk Brenda Downes, Trustee Rick Storey, and Teresa Bowman, who was elected Register of Deeds.
Rusty Barnett won the Carter County Mayor’s race handily, and Dexter Lunceford took home enough votes to remain Carter County Sheriff.
Barnett was facing a write-in challenge by incumbent mayor Leon Humphrey during Thursday’s General Election, and Lunceford won a second term by a vote of 6,142 to 4,804 for independent challenger Steve Stevenson.
Unicoi County voters elected a new mayor on Thursday, coming out in force for Garland “Bubba” Evely, who captured 58 percent of the primary vote to unseat three-term incumbent Mayor Greg Lynch.
A former Erwin mayor and 20-year veteran of the Unicoi County Board of Education, Evely spent election night at home with his wife and two dogs watching the votes come in via social media. He told the Johnson City Press afterward he now has a lot of work to do.
In the 4th District, incumbent John Holsclaw received nearly 70 percent of the primary votes from residents in Carter and Unicoi counties Thursday night to win the region’s only contested primary race for a state legislative seat.
That means that John Crawford, Bud Hulsey, Timothy Hill, Micah Van Huss, Matthew Hill, and Rusty Crowe will all likely return to Nashville in the fall, with all but Matthew Hill running unopposed in the general election.
For the full run-down of election results, visit our website.