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Filing deadline for Sullivan County election passes; number of "open" seats causes long list of hopefuls

J. H. Osborne • Feb 16, 2018 at 10:03 AM

BLOUNTVILLE — Change is coming to Sullivan County government later this year. Almost all county offices will be on the county general election ballot in August. And most also are included in Republican and Democratic party primaries in May. And several races will be decided in the Republican Party primary because no one filed to run as a Democrat or independent.

The deadline for filing to run was noon Thursday. Shortly afterward, the Sullivan County Election Commission updated its online list of who is running for what and met that deadline. The Election Commission met Thursday afternoon and certified all the candidates who file. The deadline for anyone who filed a petition to withdraw is Feb. 22.

Multiple longtime incumbents chose not to seek re-election, opening a floodgate of hopefuls for their positions. Among those who did not file to seek re-election are: County Trustee Frances Harrell; County Clerk Jeanie Gammon; Circuit Court Clerk Tommy Kerns; County Commissioner Bryan Boyd (District 2); County Commissioner Dennis Houser (District 4); County Commissioner Andy Hare; County Commissioner Eddie Williams (District 8), chairman of the county’s Budget Committee; and County Commissioner Joe Herron.

Another “open” race is for property assessor. Russell Baker was appointed to the position last year after the death of Ron Hillman. Baker is not seeking election.

In addition to those incumbents listed above as not seeking re-election, several county commissioners are not running to hold on to their commission district seats because they are instead seeking one of the “open” constitutional offices. They include: County Commissioner Cheryl Russell (District 2), who is seeking the GOP nomination to run for county clerk; County Commissioner Matthew Johnson (District 6), who is seeking the GOP nomination to run for county trustee; and County Commissioner Bobby Russell (District 9), who is seeking the GOP nomination to run for Circuit Court clerk.

Four races are pretty much already over, as incumbents were the only ones to file petitions seeking the offices this year: Circuit Court Judge (Part II) William K. Rogers (R); Register of Deeds Sheena Ramsey Tinsley (R); County Attorney Dan Street (R); and County Commissioner Randy Morrell (District 1, R).

County Mayor Richard Venable is unchallenged in the GOP primary but will have competition on the ballot in August from two independent candidates: Kellly Frye and Gerald L. Sensabaugh Jr.

Three people are vying for the GOP nomination for assessor of property: Brian Malone; Jack L. Ryan; and Donna K. Whitaker. Whichever of the three wins the Republican primary in May will face independent Jerry M. Sorrell in August.

Sheriff Wayne Anderson has two challengers for the GOP nomination: Matt Austin and Joe Earles. Whichever of the three wins the party primary in May will face independent Jeff Cassidy in August.

Four people filed to seek the GOP nomination to run for county clerk: Howard “Sunny” Baker; former County Mayor Steve Godsey; Deputy County Clerk Teresa L. Jacobs; and Cheryl Russell, who in addition to being a county commissioner is also chairman of the Sullivan County Republican Party. Whichever of the four wins the party primary in May will in August face Jane Davis, who has no opposition in the Democratic primary in May.

Several races will be decided in the Republican Party primary in May, including county trustee, Circuit Court clerk; commissioner of highways; County Commission District 3; County Commission District 9; and County Commissioner District 10. No Democratic or independent candidates filed for those races.

Republican hopefuls for county trustee include: Terri Miller Hurd; Matthew Jerry Johnson; Susan Arnold Ramsey; Angela Taylor; and Jack Young.

Republican hopefuls for Circuit Court clerk include: Bruce A. Bullis; Karen Forgety; Lionel J. Mallicote; Bobby L. Russell; and Travis Ward.

In the District 3 commission race, with one seat available, those who filed for the GOP primary include: incumbent Bob Neal; and Andrew K. Cross.

In the District 9 commission race, with two seats available, those who filed for the GOP primary include: incumbent Commissioner Kit McGlothlin; Kingsport Aldermen Colette George; and Doug Woods.

In the District 10 commission race, with two seats available, those who filed for the GOP primary include: incumbent Commissioners Larry Crawford and Bill Kilgore; Jim DeVault; Tim Sanders; and Gary Stidham.

 

 

 

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