Deadline nears to run in August Sullivan County election

J. H. Osborne • Mar 29, 2008 at 12:00 AM

BLOUNTVILLE — There are less than four business days to go until the qualifying deadline for the August ballot, which includes two Sullivan County Commission seats and four seats on the Sullivan County Board of Education.

Would-be candidates have picked up blank petitions for all four BOE districts, including a potential challenger for one sitting incumbent.

Current BOE member Jim Kiss picked up a petition to seek re-election to his District 3 seat on March 10, according to information on file with the Sullivan County Election Commission.

On March 20, Sherri M. Plaas, 109 Fairhill Road, Kingsport, picked up a petition to run in District 3.

Kiss has since filed the completed petition. As of Friday afternoon, Plaas had not.

BOE members Jack Bales (District 1) and Betty Combs (District 7) have also filed petitions to seek re-election.

BOE member Ron Smith (District 5) picked up a blank petition early last week but hadn’t filed it as of Friday afternoon.

Five people have filed to run for County Commission, where two seats will be on the August ballot. In all, seven people have picked up petitions for those races — two people for one seat, five for the other seat.

In August, voters in two county commissioner districts will elect replacements to finish out unexpired terms of commissioners who died in recent months:

•In Commission District 3, in the Bristol area, voters will elect someone to finish out the term of former Commissioner Ralph Harr, who died in late 2007. The County Commission appointed his son, Jon Harr, to fill the seat until the election in August.

•In Commission District 6, in the Bloomingdale area, voters will elect someone to finish out the term of former Commissioner Howard Patrick, who died earlier this year. The County Commission appointed his wife, Pat Patrick, to fill the seat until the election in August.

As of Friday afternoon, neither Jon Harr nor Pat Patrick had picked up the necessary paperwork to try and hold those seats past August.

One person had filed a completed petition to be on the August ballot as a candidate for Harr’s commission seat. Bart Long, 711 Holston Ave., Bristol, picked up the petition in January and filed it — meaning he has already collected the required signatures and submitted the completed form to election officials — in early February.

On Friday, Robert W. Neal, 361 Blountville Hwy., picked up a blank petition to run for the District 3 commission seat.

Five people have picked up petitions to run for Patrick’s seat: Bobby E. Brooks, 111 Chateuagay Road; Tim Earles, 731 New Beason Well Road; Matthew Johnson, 413 Ferncliff Drive; Rodger K. Jones, 216 New Beason Well Road; and Craig Ramey, 616 Newland Ave.

As of Friday afternoon, Earles was the only one from that list who had not filed a completed petition.

The August ballot also includes races for all the county’s constable districts.

To get on the ballot, would-be candidates for BOE, county commission or constable must pick up a petition from the election office, collect at least 25 signatures from registered voters, and file the completed form with the Election Commission by noon on April 3.

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