Civics 101: Do you want to run for city office?

J. H. Osborne • Dec 17, 2018 at 2:10 PM

In just over a week, would-be candidates for upcoming municipal elections in Kingsport, Bristol and Bluff City can pick up petitions to run from the Sullivan County Election Commission. The first day to do so is December 26.

The elections aren’t until May, but hopefuls must return completed petitions by noon on February 21, 2019.

If you’ve thought about running, here are the basic requirements:


Model City voters will elect a mayor, three aldermen and three members of the Kingsport Board of Education. The seats up for election are now held by Mayor John Clark, Alderman Joe Begley, Alderman Mike McIntire, Alderman Tommy Olterman, and BOE members Todd Golden, Susan Lodal and Karen Reed-Wright.

• To serve on the BMA or BOE, a candidate must be a qualified voter of the city and have lived inside the city for at least a year (those annexed within the past year meet that qualification), according to Kingsport’s charter. You can't run for mayor and alderman at the same time. You are disqualified from serving on the BMA or BOE if you have been convicted of “malfeasance in office, bribery or other corrupt practice, or crime.”

• Members of the Kingsport Board of Education are not eligible for appointment as a teacher, principal, supervisor, superintendent or any other position under the board which carries with it any salary or compensation.

• You can’t serve on the BMA and the BOE at the same time.

• BOE candidates must provide proof of a high school diploma or GED.


Bristol, Tennessee, voters will elect two members of the Bristol City Council and two members of the Bristol Board of Education. The seats are now held by Councilman Michelle Dolan, Councilman Jack Young, and BOE members Derek Linkous and David Welch.

• To serve on the Bristol City Council, you must be at least 21 years old and a resident of the city — and Tennessee — for at least one year, according to the city’s charter. You are not eligible if you hold any kind of office, executive, judicial or legislative, under the United States, state of Tennessee, Sullivan County, or are an employee of the city.

• To serve on the BOE, you must meet all the above and also provide proof of a high school diploma or GED.


Bluff City voters will elect three aldermen. Those seats are now held by David Smith, Eric Ward and Sarah Jane Madison.

• Any qualified voter of the town shall be eligible for election, according to the city’s charter.

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