Sullivan GOP primary ballot shaping up to be crowded

J. H. Osborne • Jan 21, 2018 at 9:30 AM

BLOUNTVILLE — With less than a month remaining until the filing deadline, it’s looking like a crowded ballot for upcoming elections in Sullivan County. And there will be turnover in several key offices, as multiple longtime incumbents have indicated they won’t seek re-election.

County Mayor Richard Venable, who has filed to seek re-election but has possible challengers who have picked up petitions, has said the general election in August could bring the most change throughout county government in recent memory.

Under state law, November 17, 2017 was the first day would-be candidates on the 2018 ballot could pick up paperwork at the Sullivan County Election Commission. Picking up means they were issued a petition to qualify. To finish the process, they have to get at least 25 signatures from registered voters and file the petition with the election office. The deadline to file is February 15 at noon.

If they file by the deadline and have enough valid signatures (those will be verified by election office staff), candidates will appear on the ballot for party primaries in May — with one possible exception: a new Republican Party rule, instituted at the state level, gives the GOP the right to allow someone to run in the party’s primary only if he or she has voted in at least three of the last four Republican primaries.

As of this election, both parties will hold primaries for all the major offices, including the Sullivan County Commission. For the 24 commission seats, this marks the first time the Democrats have held primaries.

As of close of business Friday, the following have picked up and/or filed:

Circuit Court Judge, Part 2

• William K. Rogers, Republican (filed).

County Mayor

• Dave Clark, Republican.

• Richard Venable, Republican (filed).

• Gerald L. Sensabaugh Jr., Independent.

Assessor of Property

• Brian Malone, Republican.

• Randy C. Morrell, Republican.

• Jack L. Ryan, Republican (filed).

• Donna K. Whitaker, Republican (filed).

• Jerry M. Sorrell, Independent (filed).


• Caroline Cabell, Republican.

• Chris Fauver, picked up two petitions: one to run as a Republican, the other to run as an Independent.

• Terri Miller Hurd, Republican (filed).

• Matthew Jerry Johnson, Republican (filed).

• Susan Arnold Ramsey, Republican (filed).

• Angela Taylor, Republican.

• Jack Young, Republican (filed).


• Wayne Anderson, Republican (filed).

• Matt Austin, Republican.

• Jeffrey Cassidy,  picked up two petitions: one to run as a Republican, the other to run as an Independent.

• Joe Earles, Republican (filed).

Circuit Court Clerk

• Paula Thomas Andrews, Republican (filed).

• Karen Forgety, Republican (filed).

• Bobby L. Russell, Republican (filed).

• Travis Ward, Republican (filed).

Register of Deeds

• Sheena Ramsey Tinsley, Republican (filed).

• Steve Ray Baker, Republican (filed).

County Clerk

• Teresa L. Jacobs, Republican.

• Chelsea Gammon Ketron, Republican.

• Amy Nelson, Republican.

• Cheryl Russell, Republican (filed).

• Mark A. Vance, Republican.

• Jane Davis, Democratic (filed).

Commissioner of Highways

• Jim Belgeri, Republican (filed).

• Scott Murray, Republican (filed). 

County Attorney

• Dan Street, Republican (filed).

In addition to the offices above, all 24 seats on the Sullivan County Commission are up for election in 2018.

The party primaries will be held in May. The winners will move on to the county’s general election in August.

For more information, visit www.scelect.org.

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