Voters head to the polls on Thursday

J. H. Osborne • Aug 5, 2008 at 12:00 AM

BLOUNTVILLE — Voters will go to the polls Thursday for three ballots: Democratic and Republican party primaries for state and federal offices on the November ballot, and a general election that includes two Sullivan County Commission seats, four county school board seats, property assessor, and all constable districts.

Polls are open Thursday in Sullivan County from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m.

Sullivan County Administrator of Elections Gena Frye said voters should keep school hours in mind if their voting precinct is at a school. School is in session in Sullivan County, Frye said, so parking and traffic will be heavier at those polling locations during morning drop-off and afternoon pickup of students.

Voters must pick one primary or the other — you cannot vote in both. Voters, however, may cast a general election ballot without participating in either primary.

Sample ballots for both primaries and the county’s general election are available online at www.scecweb.org. That Web site also includes other election related information including a demonstration and instructions for voting machines.

The ballots include:

•State House District 1 — County Commissioner Michael Surgenor has filed to run in the Democratic primary to become the party’s candidate for the Tennessee House of Representatives. That seat is held by Jon Lundberg, R-Bristol. Lundberg is seeking re-election.

•State House District 2 — Incumbent state Rep. Nathan Vaughn, D-Kingsport, is seeking re-election. Republican Tony Shipley of Kingsport is seeking his party’s nomination to challenge Vaughn in November.

•State House District 3 — Incumbent state Rep. Jason Mumpower, R-Bristol, is seeking re-election. He has no challengers from Sullivan County.

•State Senate District 2 — Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, R-Blountville, is seeking re-election to the Tennessee Senate. Kingsport’s James W. Jones has filed to seek the Democratic nomination to challenge Ramsey.

•U.S. House District 1— Two Kingsport Democrats, Robert A. Russell and Michael A. Donihe, have filed in Sullivan County to seek the party’s nomination to run in November for the U.S. House of Representatives seat held by David Davis, R-Johnson City.

Davis is seeking re-election and faces opposition in the GOP primary from Johnson City Mayor Phil Roe and Johnson City resident Mahmood “Michael” Sabri.

All four Sullivan County BOE members whose seats are on the ballot are seeking re-election unopposed: District 1, Jack Bales; District 3, Jim Kiss; District 5, Ron Smith; and District 7, Betty Combs.

In all, seven candidates filed to serve out unexpired terms for two County Commission seats — two people for one seat, and five for the other seat.

Both County Commission district elections are to fill out two years left on terms of commissioners who died within the last year.

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

•District 6 (which runs from Bloomingdale to Indian Springs) voters will elect someone to finish out the term of Howard Patrick, who died earlier this year. The County Commission appointed his wife, Pat Patrick, to fill the seat until the election Thursday.

Neither Jon Harr nor Pat Patrick sought to be on the ballot to hold those seats.

Two people are running for Harr’s commission seat: Bart Long, 711 Holston Ave., Bristol; and Robert W. Neal, 361 Blountville Hwy.

Five people are running for Patrick’s seat: Bobby E. Brooks, 111 Chateaugay Road; former County Commissioner Larry Hall, 1314 Childress Ferry Road; Matthew J. Johnson, 413 Ferncliff Drive; Rodger K. Jones, 216 New Beason Well Road; and Craig Ramey, 616 Newland Ave.

The general election ballot also includes races for all the county’s constable districts and for county property assessor — with Republican incumbent Bobby Icenhour unopposed for re-election.

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