Two Bristol, Tenn., BOE seats go begging for a candidate

J. H. Osborne • Feb 10, 2007 at 10:45 AM

BRISTOL, Tenn - No one seems interested in taking the initial step to become a candidate for one of two seats on the Bristol Tennessee Board of Education (BOE).

The election is May 15.

With only a few days left before the deadline to file to run, no one has even picked up a petition to try to get their name on the ballot as a candidate for the District 2 seat, Sullivan County Administrator of Elections Gena Frye said Friday in Blountville.

The deadline to file is noon Thursday, Feb. 15.

Bristol voters will elect two school board members in May - one from District 2 and one from District 4. Although candidates run by district, they are elected by voters citywide, Frye said.

As of Friday afternoon, Frye's office had recorded three candidates for the District 4 BOE seat: Bill Alston; Kent Hales, and Vincent Margiewicz. All three picked up petitions in January - and all three filed completed petitions to qualify as candidates during the first week of February.

If no one files a petition to run for the District 2 BOE seat by Thursday's deadline, a write-in candidate could seek the seat by meeting a later deadline, Frye said.

"Write-in candidates must be registered as write-in candidates for write-in votes to count," Frye said. "The deadline for write-in candidates to register is 20 days before the election."

Also on the May 15 ballot are two "at-large" seats on the Bristol Tennessee City Council. As of Friday afternoon, three candidates had filed qualifying petitions. A fourth petition was issued but hadn't yet been returned. The deadline on Thursday is for all May 15 city elections.

Candidates who had filed for Bristol City Council were: Wayne Chaney; James E. Messimer; and Fred Testa. John Robert Harrison picked up a petition in December, but had not returned it as of Friday.

Juvenile Court Clerk Gay Hillman, and Juvenile Court Judge Paul R. Wohlford have each filed qualifying petitions to run for reelection.

To qualify for the May ballot candidates have to file a petition with the Election Commission no later than noon Feb. 15 - with at least 25 signatures from registered voters eligible to cast a ballot in the race in question.

In Bristol, incumbents whose seats are on the May 15 ballot are Councilman William "Bill" Bingham (at-large member), Councilman James E. Messimer (at-large member), BOE member Steve Morgan (District 2), BOE member Beth W. Webb (District 4), Juvenile Court Clerk Gay Hillman, and Juvenile Court Judge Paul R. Wohlford.

Members of the Bristol City Council and BOE are elected to four-year terms, as is the juvenile court clerk. The juvenile court judge is elected to an eight-year term. Requirements to run for Council include: must be a resident of the city for at least one year prior to May 15, 2007; must be 21 years old. Candidates for BOE must present a copy of high school or college diploma.

For more information about the May 15 elections, visit www.sullivancountyelections.org or contact the Sullivan County Election Commission at 323-6444.

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