Kingsport Times News Tuesday, September 23, 2014

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Hawkins mayor attributes win to clean campaign and 'facts'

May 7th, 2014 11:18 pm by Jeff Bobo

Hawkins mayor attributes win to clean campaign and 'facts'

MELVILLE BAILEY

ROGERSVILLE — Hawkins County Mayor Melville Bailey attributes his victory in Tuesday's Republican primary to a positive campaign and presenting the facts to the voters.

Bailey said he hopes to continue presenting a positive message as he campaigns for a second county mayor term in the Aug. 7 general election.

"I just try to be up front and honest with the voters, and try to do my job," Bailey said. "There was quite a bit of negativity from one of my opponents, but I just tried to present the facts, and let the people make a decision based on what they believe."

Bailey said many people told him they were turned off by opponent Dennis Deal's negative campaign. Deal issued advertisements which described Bailey as incompetent and criticized Bailey's decision-making, budgeting and management skills.

"People told me they didn't agree with those tactics or that strategy," Bailey said. "My strategy was to come to work, do my job, and get out and ask people to vote for me. I made it through the first round. The second round — we'll have to wait and see how that turns out."

Bailey faces Democratic challenger Johnny Greer, the mayor of Surgoinsville, in the Aug. 7 general election.

Hawkins County's primary races were settled Tuesday with only 20.5 percent of registered voters casting a ballot.

Of Hawkins County's 35,888 registered voters, 7,388 voted in the primary, including 6,774 in the Republican primary and 614 in the Democratic primary.

Due to the final tallies coming in close to deadline, the Times-News wasn't able to speak to all of the major office winners in contested races.

Among those was Chris Raines who won Hawkins County's only contested Democratic primary, defeating Terry Risner in the Sessions judge race by a vote of 319-232. Raines will challenge incumbent Judge J. Todd Ross on Aug. 7.

"I'm thankful to everyone who voted for me, but we all know that there's a long way to go," Raines said. "I'm very grateful for all of the support, the people who made calls for me and worked for me. "As far as total number of votes, the output wasn't great in quantity, but it was in quality."

In another contested judge race, Rogersville Assistant Attorney General Alex Pearson defeated Greeneville attorney Linda Woolsey, 12,085 to 10,587, for the 3rd Judicial District Circuit Judge Part I serving Hawkins, Hamblen, Greene and Hancock counties. With no Democratic opponent, Pearson will win the general election unopposed and take over for retiring Judge John Wilson on Sept. 1.

"I think we ran an effective campaign addressing the issues," Pearson said. "I think people agreed with my intent to try to address an increase in the criminal court caseload. As I look back over my time as a prosecutor I have many fond memories, I've worked with many wonderful people in law enforcement and fellow employees, as well as victims and witnesses, and it's been a very rewarding experience."

Veteran Rogersville police officer Jim Shanks won the Republican primary for Hawkins County trustee, ahead of his nearest competitor by nearly 1,000 votes. Shanks faces Democrat Chris Christian, who is a member of the Hawkins County Board of Education, in the Aug. 7 general election.

"I'm grateful that God has blessed me with great family, friends, and supporters," Shanks said. "These candidates all ran a positive campaign focused on the issues and there were no personal attacks. I am humbled by the support and I hope that I am given the opportunity to serve our citizens."

By a vote of 13,804 to 7,168, Dan Armstrong defeated Greeneville attorney Ed Kershaw in the Republican primary for 3rd Judicial District attorney general serving Hawkins, Greene, Hamblen, and Hancock counties.

Armstrong has served as an assistant attorney general under retiring Berkeley Bell for 28 years. He now faces his colleague, Democrat Cecil Mills, in the Aug. 7 general election.

"I'm just overwhelmed and humbled by the vote district-wide, and especially in Hawkins County," Armstrong said. "For somebody who's not from Hawkins County, for them to embrace me like they did is humbling and I appreciate it. I think what resonated was my experience, and that I could do the job from day one. That was my message, along with my solutions to the prescription pain pill problem."

Armstrong said he doesn't believe campaigning this summer in opposition to his colleague and fellow prosecutor will create tension in the office.

Armstrong added, "Actually I am honored to have the pleasure of running against somebody who I respect more than anybody else in the legal profession. Cecil Mills is my friend and he is my brother in Christ. This will be the most positive summer campaign you've ever seen from both of us."

Attempts to contact Hawkins County Clerk primary winner Nancy Davis on Wednesday were unsuccessful. Davis will win the general election uncontested.

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