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When early and absentee voting ended Saturday at noon, 4,036 Lincoln Countians had cast their ballots – on Election Day Thursday, Aug. 7, the county’s 21 precincts will be open from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m., giving voters here their final opportunity to have a say in the outcome.
The 4,036 early and absentee voters compares to 4,400 who voted early here in 2010, 3,337 in 2006, 3,610 in 2002, and 2,241 in 1994, according to The Times’ archives. There are 20,665 registered voters in Lincoln County.
Voters are reminded that they must have a photo identification issued by the federal or Tennessee state government when voting in person – examples of those include a Tennessee driver license with your photo, Tennessee Department of Safety photo identification, Tennessee gun carry permit with your photo, U.S. military photo identification, or a passport.
In addition to local elections, the August ballot will also include state primaries for governor and U.S. senator and congressman.
Here in Lincoln County leading the ballot will be the county mayor’s race. Incumbent County Mayor Peggy Bevels is being challenged by Jack Atchley, William (Bill) Newman, Gwen Shelton, and David Smith. Officially, the new term for county mayor, as well as other county seats, begins Sept. 1.
Drawing as much interest is the Home Rule Charter form of government, which is the last question on the ballot. The question asks, “Shall Lincoln County Government be changed from its current form of government which derives its authority from the Tennessee statutes to a Home Rule Charter Government which derives its authority from the county charter proposed herein to be approved by the voters, such charter consisting of an Executive Branch headed by the County Mayor of Lincoln County, a Legislative Branch consisting of the Commission of Lincoln County and a Judicial Branch consisting of the existing courts of Lincoln County, or any other courts established by law?” Voters are asked whether they are for or against a county charter form of government.
Also drawing a great deal of interest is the race for circuit court judge, Part 1, for the 17th Judicial District – in that race are Forest A. Durard, Jr., and Brooke Grubb, both independent candidates on the ballot. Grubb is from Fayetteville while Durard, appointed to the seat by the governor last year, is from Shelbyville.
The race for public defender for the 17th Judicial District has also gotten heated. It is between incumbent Donna Orr Hargrove and her challenger Robert Dalton – both of those independent candidates are from Lewisburg.
In other 17th Judicial District races, incumbents Lee Russell, current circuit court judge, Part 2, of Shelbyville and J.B. Cox, chancellor, of Fayetteville are both unopposed. Also unopposed in his first election is Robert J. Carter of Fayetteville, district attorney general. Carter was appointed to his seat two years ago by the governor.
Another judicial election will see Andrew Myrick unopposed in his bid for re-election as Lincoln County’s general sessions judge.
Other countywide races will see a number of candidates unopposed in their runs. Lisa Corder-Simmons is unopposed in her bid for circuit court clerk, a seat currently held by her mother, Gail Corder, who is retiring after having served in the seat since 1986. Corder’s daughter, Lisa, has worked in the office for 12 years. Also unopposed are Sheriff Murray Blackwelder, County Clerk Phyllis Counts, Register of Deeds Randy Delap, Road Superintendent Tim Gill, and County Trustee Mary Jane Porter.
In Lincoln County Commission races, the top three vote getters in each district will be elected to office.
District 1 candidates include incumbents Darrin Simms and Steve Graham, as well as newcomer Larry Taft. With three seats on the ballot for District 1, Simms, Graham, and Taft will be elected. Commissioner Tommy Stevenson did not seek re-election.
In District 2, incumbents Ben Brown, Grady Reavis, and John Thorpe are being challenged by Catie Wilson.
In District 3, incumbent Sharon Eubanks is on the ballot as well as hopefuls Kate Guin, Rickey Head, and Daryl Luna. Luna serves as chair of the Lincoln County Charter Commission, which drafted the proposed Home Rule Charter that will be on the ballot.
In District 4, incumbents Randy Bradford, Mark Monks, and Jack Towry are being opposed by Roy Butler.
In District 5, incumbents Shirley Dangerfield, Wayne King and Anthony Taylor are unopposed in their bids for re-election to their seats.
In District 6, incumbents William Askins and Doug Cunningham are on the ballot as well as newcomer Todd Andrew Groce. Currently holding one of the District 6 seats on the commission is Bill Newman, who is seeking the county mayor’s seat.
In District 7, candidates are incumbents Ricky Bryant, Steve Guntherberg and Tull Malone, who’ll each be re-elected to their seats.
And in District 8, incumbents Ronald Jean, Donny Ogle and Chris Thornton will be on the ballot, along with challenger Paul Dempsey.
In Lincoln County Board of Education races, only the District 1, 3, 5, and 7 seats will be on the ballot. In District 1, incumbent Brandon Kolle is unopposed. In District 3, incumbent Robert Strope is being challenged by Stan Golden, former director of schools for Lincoln County. In District 5, incumbent Veronica King is unopposed. And in District 7, incumbent Jerry Pendergrass is being challenged by Brad Jean.
In Petersburg city races, incumbents James Owen, Kenneth Richardson, Corey Smith, and Barbara Woodward are on the ballot.
In the governor’s race, incumbent Bill Haslam faces Mark Connrippy Brown, Basil Marceaux, Sr., and Donald Ray McFolin in the Republican primary. In the Democratic primary, candidates are Charles V. (Charlie) Brown, Kennedy Spellman Johnson, William H. (John) McKamey, and Ron Noonan.
In the race for the U.S. Senate seat, incumbent Lamar Alexander is being challenged by Christian Agnew, Joe Carr, George Shea Flinn, John D. King, Brenda S. Lenard, and Erin Kent MaGee in the Republican primary. In the Democratic primary, candidates are Terry Adams, Gordon Ball, Larry Crim, and Gary Gene Davis.
The race for U.S. Congressman representing the 4th District will see incumbent Scott DesJarlais facing challengers John Anderson, Oluyomi (Fapas) Faparusi, Sr., Steve Lane, David R. Tate, Jim Tracy, and Michael S. Warden in the Republican primary. Warden is from Fayetteville, and Tracy, of Shelbyville, currently serves as state senator. In the Democratic primary for the congressional seat, Lenda Sherrell is the lone candidate.
Candidates in primaries for house and senate seats in the Tennessee Legislature include incumbent State Rep. Pat Marsh (R-Shelbyville), who is unopposed in his bid for re-election to the 62nd District seat, and incumbent State Rep. Billy Spivey (R-Shelbyville), and Vicki Cain (D-Lewisburg), for the 92nd District seat. Lincoln County is split between the two house districts.
In primaries for state executive committeewoman will be Brenda Ables (D-Fayetteville), Joan Hill (D-Murfreesboro), Lynne Davis (R-Lascassas), and Joanne Skidmore (R-Murfreesboro), and in primaries for state executive committeeman will be Mark Farrar (D-Shelbyville), Lance Frizzell (R-Murfreesboro), and Jim Sandman (R-Lascassas).
Judicial Retention Questions
Voters will also be asked whether to retain or replace a number of state Supreme Court justices as well as judges for the state Court of Appeals, and Court of Criminal Appeals.