Election Roundup

Well, another election has come and gone. There were winners and losers. That's what elections are about.

I'll start with my own election first.

You may or may not know yet, I lost my bid for re-election to the school board by 39 votes, 792 to 753. My opponent, Jeremy Buckles, took the seat. I can't take anything from Jeremy and his family. Jeremy, his momma and daddy worked hard for the election. They went door to door throughout the district visiting lots of voters and apparently it paid off. Congratulations to the Buckles family for a job well done.

The difference was really, they just out worked me, they apparently wanted it more than I did. Jeremy also had a lot of support from other sections. He had the local Tea Party support, many in the Republican party circle, a lot of the education community, current school board members Gary Ubben and Ric Best and maybe his largest constituency, the "I hate Van crowd."

On the other side of the ledger, a big difference between myself and Jeremy is, I have a political record. I've cast some tough votes and made tough decisions and that doesn't always make you real popular in some circles. I've been told I'm outspoken. Maybe, but I've never been one to keep my positions a secret and that doesn't always make you real popular in some circles. No regrets on either front.

And finally, in order to win any election, a candidate must be able get his supporters to go to the polls. This election was very low turnout. Of the 6,821 registered voters in the 5th district, only 1,545 came out to vote in the school board race. That's less than a 23% turnout. That's kind of sad. As you can see, every vote counts. But if folks who say they support you don't go to the polls, that support doesn't count for a single vote.

I wish Jeremy all the success in the world. Our school system depends on the board making rational, logical decisions.

In the four man/woman race for the other seat in the 5th district, incumbent, Gary Ubben won re-election with 598 votes. Ubben bested second place challenger, Brian Brown by 103 votes, pulling in 495 votes. Third was Freddie Gene Walker with 279, followed by Teresa Karimian with 188.

Based on the outcome of the school board election in the fifth district, the majority of the voters that went to the polls preferred to have a 77 year old, retired, career educator, who's never met a tax dollar he didn't want to spend and a 21 year old youngster who's never held a job and hasn't made it out of the nest yet to represent them on the Loudon County School Board. You can't argue with the voters.

Go figure.

Down in the first district, Loudon, incumbent school board member, Bill Marcus was unseated in the three man race. Challenger, Kenny Ridings, came out on top with a vote of 452 with Marcus finishing with 360 votes. Third was Ken Hupp with a vote of 286.Congratulations to Mr. Ridings.

In the only other contested school board election, two new candidates were vying for the third district (Greenback) vacant seat after incumbent Lisa Russell opted not to seek re-election. Phil Moffett came out the winner with 244 votes followed by Michael Phillips with 129 votes. Congratulations Phil Moffett.

The ten member school board will begin the new term with three new board members Good luck to all of them.

Voters in Lenoir City said no to changing the elected position of Treasurer/Recorder from elected to appointed. The amendment was defeated by a vote of 347 to 297. That was much closer than the last time when the measure was defeated by an 81% margin. I'll have more on this particular issue Monday.

The second measure passed by a vote of 343 to 297. The mayor's term will be changed from a two year term to a four year term.       

The only other hot race of interest for Loudon County was the race for 32nd District House seat held by Julia Hurley. While Hurley carried the 32nd district portion of Loudon County, she lost to challenger Kent Calfee in Roane County by a vote of 3,414 for Calfee to Hurley's 2,372 votes. The 32nd district is made up of a large portion of Roane County and a much smaller portion of Loudon County. Hurley carried the Loudon County portion by a vote of 838 for Hurley and 530 votes for Calfee. Hurley's margin of victory in Loudon County was far short of enough votes to off set the difference in Roane County.

This is kind of the light night, short version of Thursday's election. We'll cover a few more relevant details next week.