ROGERSVILLE — First-time candidate Jack Price Jr. of Rogersville won the Hawkins County property assessor Republican primary election Tuesday by the narrowest of margins over two-term incumbent Don Cinnamon.
The election was overshadowed, however, by the death last week of Cinnamon’s wife of 45 years, Sandra Cinnamon. Mrs. Cinnamon, 67, was involved in a serious car accident last Monday and succumbed to her injuries two days later.
As supporters congratulated Price at the Hawkins County Courthouse following the release of the final vote tallies, he said his thoughts and prayers are with the Cinnamon family, who were still in Texas where Sandra Cinnamon was buried.
“This whole situation brings life into perspective,” Price said Tuesday night. “It lets you know what’s really important. I’m very happy that I won, and I appreciate the support that I’ve gotten from a variety of people ... my friends, family, co-workers and the taxpayers of Hawkins County. I’d just like to send out our condolences to the Cinnamon family. Our prayers are with them.”
The contest between Price and Cinnamon was one of the closest for any Hawkins County office in recent history. Price, a longtime sales manager at the Hawkins County Farmers Cooperative, received 2,148 votes, with Cinnamon a close second at 2,062.
Hawkins County Board of Education member Kathy Cradic finished third with 1,371, and first-time candidate Jess Helton received 387.
In the only other county race, former Hawkins County commissioner Stacy Vaughan won the District 3 Republican primary for a seat on the commission with an overwhelming victory over acting commissioner Kathy Derrick and challenger Hubert Neal.
Vaughan, a police officer with the Mount Carmel Police Department, received 360 votes, with Neal finishing second with 198 votes and Derrick with 183.
This District 3 commission election was to fill the seat vacated by the resignation of Phill Barrett last year. Although Vaughan had been the highest vote getter not to win a District 3 seat in the 2006 election, the commission bucked tradition and appointed Derrick instead of the next highest vote recipient to fill Barrett’s seat until an election could be held.
On Tuesday the decision was put in the hands of the voters.
“I’m thankful to the citizens of the 3rd District who put their trust in me to represent them on the County Commission,” said Vaughan. “I’ve received many phone calls from citizens in the community congratulating, and I’m anxious to get back on the commission and get to work again.”
There were no Democratic candidates in either race.
As a point of interest, Hawkins County Democrats favored presidential candidate Hillary Clinton with 2,422 votes over Barack Obama with 564 and John Edwards with 262.
Hawkins County Republicans favored John McCain with 2,459 votes over Mike Huckabee with 2,272, Mitt Romney 894, Ron Paul 291, and Fred Thompson 251.
A total of 9,687 votes were cast in Hawkins County of the overall 32,947 registered voters, which is a voter turnout of 29.4 percent.