Shull, a former Kingsport alderman and current Sullivan County commissioner, secured 2,449 votes in the race for mayor, easily outdistancing his four opponents in Tuesday’s municipal election. Nathan Vaughn, a former state representative and Kingsport vice mayor, came in second with 1,625 votes, while current Vice Mayor Mike McIntire was third with 1,390 votes.
The remaining mayoral candidates, Joe Carr and Dennis Mabb, received 218 and 63 votes, respectively.
Shull said Tuesday’s election was simply about change.
“I’m probably from a different mold than some of our previous mayors, and I felt a real connection with the citizens I spoke to one on one. Their concerns are my concerns to a great degree,” Shull said. “I know it sounds mundane, but roads and potholes was the number one issue.”
Continuing, Shull said he believes there’s a disconnect between the public and city leaders, something that was voiced to him as he walked door to door to thousands of residents during the three-month campaign.
“The ideas of the BMA beating around, like a new baseball stadium. That didn’t go over very well with the public. The public really doesn’t see a need for a second baseball stadium,” Shull said. “I’m not criticizing the BMA’s motives, but it just sends a wrong message to voters to read about this type of thing then run over a pot hole on the way to work.”
Shull said he hopes Kingsport will be able to accelerate road repairs and that he intends to hold quarterly town hall meetings, which was a pledge he made during the campaign for mayor.
“I think it’s not only important that I hear from the citizens, but that they hear from each other,” Shull said. “If they know we listen to them and consider them, it will help bring everyone more together.”
In Tuesday’s city election, six candidates were vying for the three alderman seats. When all the votes were in, incumbent Tommy Olterman won re-election with 2,787 votes. Darrell Duncan, who previously served two years on the BMA, garnered the most votes of all the alderman candidates with 3,150.
Coming in third in the alderman race with 2,714 votes was James Phillips, a local developer, entrepreneur and son of former Kingsport Mayor Dennis Phillips.
Rounding out the alderman field was Chris Bulle (2,479 votes), Charles Honaker Jr. (2,312 votes) and Chris Mills (1,141 votes).
According to the Sullivan County Election Commission, approximately 8.6 percent of eligible voters turned out for early voting this year. Of Kingsport’s 31,566 registered voters, 2,716 voted early.