Judge dispute could be costly
Damon Lawrence roanecounty.com
Taxpayers in the 9th Judicial District could be on the hook for thousands of dollars if a special election is ordered for circuit court judge.

The position is currently held by Mike Pemberton, who defeated Tom McFarland in the Aug. 7 election.

McFarland is now suing Pemberton, the Roane County Election Commission and Tennessee Coordinator of Elections Mark Goins in Roane County Chancery Court.

McFarland wants the election voided and a new one held.

The judicial district is made up of Roane, Loudon, Meigs and Morgan counties. Roane County Administrator of Elections Charles Holiway estimates it could cost the four counties between $150,000 to $200,000 to hold a special election for circuit court judge.

Roane is the biggest county in the district. Holiway estimates Roane’s portion for a new election would cost $60,000 to $75,000.

“It runs about that,” Holiway said. “Somewhere in the neighborhood of $75,000.”

The State and Federal General Election is Nov. 4.

Holiway and Morgan County Administrator of Elections Tim Sweat said it’s too late to hold a special election for circuit court judge on that date.

“As with other counties, we’ve already been mailing ballots out to military and things like that,” Sweat said. “It’s set.”

Sweat said he didn’t have any figures on how much a special election for circuit court judge would cost Morgan County but predicted it wouldn’t be cheap.

“You could probably reduce the number of workers if that was the only thing on the ballot, but it will still have to be countywide with all the precincts open and things like that,” Sweat said. “It’s still going to be expensive.”