“Some commissioners aren't happy with the primary, and they want to change the rules for the next election. Once you start an election cycle, my opinion is it's not a good practice to come in and change the rules to benefit what your personal agenda would be.” — Commissioner Stacy Vaughan
There were five Republicans in Tuesday's Hawkins County Primary seeing to replace two-term County Mayor Melville Bailey, who chose not to seek a third term and instead run for State Representative this year.
Four of the six Budget Committee members who were seeking re-election managed to move on to the Aug. 2 general election. That may seem surprising considering last year's $40 wheel tax increase, and the "drain the swamp" sentiment that has been rampant on social media heading into Tuesday's county commission primaries.
Retired THP Trooper Jim Lee leads former TRW department manager Kelly Markham by 211 votes for the Hawkins County mayor Republican nominations in early voting results.
Hawkins County's early voting figures for Tuesday’s county primary are way down this year, 980 fewer than voted early in the 2014 county primary and 1,785 fewer than voted early for the 2010 county primary.
Jim Belgeri is seeking a second four-year term as Sullivan County’s highway commissioner. The race will be decided in the Republican Party primary on May 1.
On Wednesday the city seized about two dozen campaign signs that were illegally posted on public right-of-way within the city limits. Rogersville is the only Hawkins County municipality that bans campaign signs from the public right-of-way.
Early voting for the May 1 county primary begins Wednesday morning in Hawkins County at both the downtown Rogersville location, and the new Church Hill Rescue Squad location.
The qualifying deadline for all three seats was noon Thursday, April 5. The deadline to withdraw from the ballot is noon Thursday, April 12.
Hawkins County Boy Scouts will host a political candidate forum next week in Surgoinsville where, for a $100 donation to the Scouts, political candidates will be given an opportunity to present their election platform.
Marsha Blackburn and Dr. Rolando Toyos, who are seeking to fill the U.S. Senate seat being vacated this year by Bob Corker, will be among the speakers at Saturday's annual Hawkins County Lincoln Day Dinner.
VIDEO & PHOTO GALLERY: Among the GOP mayor candidates who attended were current District 5 county commissioner Mark Linkous; solid waste director and former county commissioner Charlie Freeman; and long time TRW supervisor Kelly Markham.
Along with the winners of the Republican and Democrat primaries on May 1, there will be four Independents on the ballot for Hawkins County mayor in the Aug. 2 county general election.
At one time, Melville Bailey and Gary Hicks sat beside each other on the Hawkins County Commission, and on Aug. 2 they’ll be beside each other again — on the state Republican primary ballot — albeit as opponents.
Hawkins County Mayor Melville Bailey announced earlier this month he will not be seeking a third term of office, but eight potential candidates have already picked up a candidate petition to fill his shoes.