All those elections

Top 10 Newsmakers of 2018

Posted 12/31/18

With three elections on the calendar, 2018 was a busy year for Bradley County voters. Elections were held on May 1 (Bradley County Primary), Aug. 2 (Bradley County General Election and Tennessee State Primary Election), and Nov. 6 (Tennessee State General Election and Cleveland City package store referendum).

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All those elections

Top 10 Newsmakers of 2018


With three elections on the calendar, 2018 was a busy year for Bradley County voters. Elections were held on May 1 (Bradley County Primary), Aug. 2 (Bradley County General Election and Tennessee State Primary Election), and Nov. 6 (Tennessee State General Election and Cleveland City package store referendum).

Here are highlights from all three:

May 1, 2018

County Primaries

Most of Bradley County’s commissioners, county mayor, constables and other elected officials for the next four years were known after the county primary election. Because very few Democrats ran for local office, all races where only Republicans were on the ballot were decided in the primary. Those included:

• Sheriff Steve Lawson, who unseated one-term sheriff Eric Watson.

• Circuit Court Clerk Gayla Miller, who defeated challenger Jeff A. Young.

• County Commission: District 1, Seat A – Two newcomers were on the ballot, with Dennis Epperson winning over Rick Bise; District 4, Seat A – incumbent Charlotte Peak defeated challenger Alex Morrow; District 5, Seat A – incumbent Bobby Goins won over challenger Jerry W. Cross; District 6, Seat A – newcomer Tim Mason defeated incumbent Dan Rawls; and District 6, Seat B – newcomer Erica Davis won over incumbent Robert Rominger and challenger Tommy Ledford. Kevin Raper won the Republican primary for District 7, Seat A, but faced a Democratic opponent in the Aug. 2 general election.

• Constable: District 1 – Garry D. Moore won over Jeffery Alan Lewis; District 2 – Richard “Dickie” Alford won over Jimmy Kendrick Jr.; and District 3 – newcomer Tim Colbaugh won over Rob Jensen and incumbent Dewayne Hicks.

Unopposed candidates who won their races included County Mayor D. Gary Davis;

Country Trustee Mike Smith; Register of Deeds Dina Swafford; Road Superintendent Sandra Knight; constable candidates Jason Corum (District 3), Wayne Henry (District 4), Steve Anderson (District 5) and Brent Runyon (District 7); and county commissioners Mike Hughes, Louie Alford, Thomas Crye, Milan Blake, Johnny Mull, Howard Thompson, Jeff Yarber and Bill Winters.

August 2, 2018

County Generals

State Primaries

In the county general election, the District 7, Seat A race was decided when Republican Kevin Raper won over Democrat Tammy Davis.

In Charleston, Mayor Walter Goode won his re-election campaign, as did incumbent Cleveland City Council members Charlie McKenzie and Bill Estes. Ken Webb was elected to an at-large seat on the Cleveland City Council, easily besting three other candidates who were also seeking to replace current Councilman Richard Banks, who announced he would not be seeking re-election.

In addition to Webb, another new face on the Council – but not on the local political scene – was Mayor Kevin Brooks, who served in the Tennessee House of Representative for 12 years. Brooks decided to run for mayor when longtime mayor Tom Rowland announced his plan to not seek re-election.

Both the Cleveland and Bradley County boards of education saw new members elected. For Bradley County, Troy Weathers was elected to the 4th District seat on the board, besting incumbent Dianna Calfee. Both Vicki Beaty and Amanda Lee won their re-election bids.

In the Cleveland Board of Education race, all the candidates were incumbents running unopposed: Dawn Robinson, Charlie Cogdill, Peggy Pesterfield and Tom Cloud.

In the state primary election, former Bradley County commissioner Mark Hall won the Republican nomination for Tennessee House of Representatives, District 24; Mallory Pickert won the Democratic nomination, and the two were placed on the Nov. 6 state general election ballot.

Incumbents won their races for U.S. House of Representatives – Chuck Fleischmann in District 3 and Scott DesJarlais in District 4; Tennessee State Senate – Mike Bell in District 9; and Tennessee House of Representatives – Dan Howell in District 22. Bell would face Democratic challenger Carl Lansden in November, and both Fleischmann and DesJarlais would face Democratic and Independent challengers. Howell had no challengers.

Political newcomer Bill Lee, who visited Bradley County multiple times during the campaign, won the Republican nomination for governor, while Karl Dean won the Democratic nod.

The race to fill the U.S. Senate seat left vacant when Bob Corker decided not to seek re-election was a hard-fought one, with candidates stumping in Bradley County. The primary votes went to Republican Marsha Blackburn and Democrat Phil Bredesen, and the two were placed on the Nov. 6 state general election ballot.

Nov. 6, 2018

State Primaries

In the state general election, Blackburn bested Bredesen, ending a 16-year term in the U.S. House of Representatives to begin serving in the U.S. Senate.

Lee dominated Dean at the polls, leaving him poised to take office as Gov. Bill Haslam prepares to leave after two terms.

For the U.S. House of Representatives, Fleischmann won over Democrat Danielle Mitchell and Independent Rick Tyler, and DesJarlais garnered more votes than Democrat Mariah Phillips and Independent Michael Shupe.

In the Tennessee Senate, Bell won over Lansden, securing another term in office.

In addition to state and national races, Cleveland voters also cast their ballots for a referendum on retail package stores. After the 13,036 votes were cast on Election Day, 7,613 voters supported allowing package stores in the city of Cleveland, with 5,423 voting against the measure.

Although Cleveland has had liquor by the drink since 2002, and wine in grocery stores since 2014, the successful referendum marks the opportunity for package stores — also known as liquor stores — to open in the city.

The Cleveland City Council has begun review of a plan for a package store ordinance, engaging in discussion about certain provisions related to store distance from schools and churches, as well as limitations on the number of stores allowed within the city limits.

After a busy year with three elections on the calendar, voters will have a break before being called upon to perform their civic duty once again – Fran Green, Bradley County’s administrator of elections, said the next election will be the March 2020 presidential preference primary, with early voting beginning in February 2020.


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