Venable files to run for mayor in Sullivan

J. H. Osborne • Feb 20, 2014 at 9:26 AM

BLOUNTVILLE — Richard Venable, several notable supporters in tow, filed his petition Wednesday to seek the Republican Party’s nomination to run for Sullivan County mayor.

The move means a head-to-head race for the GOP nomination between Venable and Steve Godsey, who is seeking the chance to run for re-election.

Voters will chose between Venable and Godsey in the Republican primary on May 6.

And as of end of business Wednesday, the winner of that primary will pretty much become mayor in the general election in August — as all other would-be mayoral candidates have withdrawn. David Webb, who had filed to run as an independent, was the latest to withdraw, on Wednesday.

The deadline for all hopefuls — whether for party primaries in May or as independents in the general election in August — is noon today.

That goes for the mayor’s race and other county constitutional offices, as well as County Commission and judgeships.

“I’m here today with friends, colleagues and former colleagues on the Sullivan County Commission to file my petition to become a candidate for the Republican nomination for mayor of Sullivan County,” Venable said. “It is a big step and one I take very willingly and with great excitement.”

Venable said he thanks “the literally hundreds of people who in the last month or so have called me and encouraged me to do this.”

Venable said it was a difficult decision, but friends and people who care about Sullivan County convinced him county government needs his participation.

Venable said he had been looking forward to retirement, but his desire to serve county government takes precedence.

If elected, Venable said he hopes to work with the County Commission to restore the confidence of county residents in their government.

“I am ready for the challenge,” Venable said. “I look forward to the campaign. My opponent is a good man with a good heart, but I feel I have some things to offer that the county is in dire need of now.”

Venable was accompanied into the election office Wednesday by County Commissioners Cathy Armstrong, Bryan Boyd, Dennis Houser and Robert White — as well as former County Commissioner Mark Vance and former Kingsport Alderman Hoyt Denton.

Election office staff verified Venable’s petition contained enough signatures of registered voters to qualify him as a primary candidate.

Some who signed the petition included: former Property Assessor Bob Icenhour, Vance, Michael Locke, White, Denton, Armstrong, Houser, Boyd, County Commissioner Bill Kilgore, Brenda Kilgore, Martha Jane Crawford, Larry Crawford, County Commissioner John Crawford, County Commissioner Eddie Williams and County Commissioner Terry Harkleroad.

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