This past Tuesday saw more ballots cast than many expected or predicted, as voter participation hit a 50-year national high. The numbers were high in Tennessee as well, but while changes were made in many positions around the nation, nothing really changed for our state in terms of party seats.
Republicans Bill Lee, Marsha Blackburn, and Phil Roe all won handily in their bids for Governor, Senate, and House positions, and many Republican officials seeking to remain in office at the state level ran unopposed.
Familiar faces filled Aldermen slots in Erwin, as incumbent Aldermen Mark Lafever and Gary Chandler, along with former alderman Michael Baker, returned to office. Incumbent Alderwoman Kathy Bullen and Wanda Wilson Radford were the top vote getters in Tuesday’s five-candidate race for two seats on the Unicoi Board of Mayor and Alderman.
Chuck Vest ran unopposed and remained mayor of Jonesborough, and newcomer Stephen Callahan and current appointee Virginia Causey took the two open alderman seats in JBO, edging out former alderman Charlie Moore.
Two newcomers won seats on the Elizabethton City Council and two newcomers joined the Board of Education, as Eddie Pless and Danny O’Quinn took both the contested seats on the school board, and Richard Barker and Michael Simerly were elected along with incumbents Bill Carter and Wes Frazier.
In Johnson City, incumbent Jenny Brock and newcomer John Hunter were elected to the City Commission. Brock, the current vice mayor who was first elected to the City Commission in 2013, said she believes her overwhelming support is evidence that citizens like the direction Johnson City is heading.
In national elections, there were plenty of firsts, and plenty of changes in the House. The Senate remains under control of the Republicans, and many highlighted races have still not declared a clear winner, and - of course - Florida is one of those states still waiting on numbers.
Another mass shooting, at a nightclub in Thousand Oaks, CA, has overtaken the news cycle since the election. A dozen people were killed Wednesday night after a gunman opened fire during college night at a country bar in the Southern California town.
Ventura County sheriff’s Sgt. Ron Helus told his wife he had to “handle a call,” as they spoke on the phone.
“I love you. I’ll talk to you later,” he told her, and then he drove to the scene, rushed toward the shooting, and immediately exchanged fire with the shooter inside the bar. Helus, a 29-year veteran of the sheriff’s office, was hit multiple times and died at a hospital, just one of the people being called a hero after the tragedy.
This shooting occurred less than two weeks after 11 people were shot dead at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, and is, according to the Associated Press, the 307th mass shooting of 2018. That’s 307 mass shootings in 311 days this year, almost one per day.
Isaac “Ike” Lowry, the man in charge of Sullivan County's 911 system for nearly 30 years, has been arrested for allegedly filing false police reports — and in turn, getting an innocent woman arrested for theft.
A criminal probe was launched after Lowry told the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office that a “female acquaintance” had stolen his debit card, then unlawfully withdrawn more than $6,000 from his checking account and more than $8,000 from his savings. She was subsequently arrested and charged with 61 counts of identity theft and felony theft over $10,000, but later had her charges expunged after it was revealed that Lowry had given her permission to use the card.
Lowry was released on $7,500 bond, and currently awaits trial.