Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett won’t face opposition in his
bid for re-election.
The deadline to qualify to run for county offices was noon
today and no one submitted the paperwork to challenge him. That means Burchett,
a former a state senator and state representative, will automatically begin his
second and final four-year term on Sept. 1, barring a major upset by a write-in
candidate in August.
“I don’t think it has anything to do with me or the job I’m
doing,” Burchett said. “I think it has to do with the good people who work for
Almost every county seat, with the exception of a handful of
commission and school board posts, the law directors, and property assessor,
are up for re-election this year.
The county primaries are set for May 6 with the general
elections set for August 7.
In addition to the mayor, Circuit Court Clerk Cathy Shanks
(formerly Kathy Quist), Public Defender Mark Stephens, and 10 judges won’t seek
Further, no one challenged Charme Knight, a county
prosecutor, for the district attorney general seat. Knight, a Republican, will
replace long-time Democrat and DA Randy Nichols, who will retire at the end of the
Knight, who has
worked in the DA’s Office for 25 years, said the lack of an opponent will give
her the chance to “hit the ground running.”
“What benefits the office is that I have six months to get
ready instead of having to campaign, which is still something I’ll do but to a
lesser degree,” she said.
Overall, there are 34 posts up for
election including 16 judge and chancellor seats.
Only one major candidate will have
to make it through two races. The rest will more than likely be settled in the
Interim Trustee Craig Leuthold
will take on fellow Republican and current county Commissioner Ed Shouse and
Barry Hawkins, a former long-time Trustee’s Office employee, in the primary.
The winner will face Democrat James Berrier in the primary.
Bobby Waggoner, a retired chief of
detectives in the Sheriff’s Office, and Charles “Sam” Hammett Jr. will
challenge Sheriff Jimmy “J.J.” Jones for his seat in the Republican primary.
Criminal Court Clerk Joy McCroskey
on Tuesday said she’s not going to seek re-election.
That leaves County Commissioner
Mike Hammond, local attorney Steve Williams and Jason
Hunnicutt, a prosecutor
in the District Attorney’s Office to settle the race in the Republican primary.
Hunnicutt, a prosecutor in the
District Attorney General’s Office, picked up his petition on Wednesday and
then returned it just 40 minutes before the deadline.
“It happened so fast,” he said,
referring to McCroskey’s decision not to run and his plans to jump into the
“I’ve worked with the criminal
court clerk’s office every day for 12 years and there’s some good people in
there but there are some things that need changing,” he added.
In the county clerk’s race,
incumbent Republican Foster Arnett Jr will face Democrat and former clerk Mike
Padgett in the general election.
And in the register of deeds’
race, incumbent Republican Sherry Witt will face Donald Wiser, an independent,
No Democrats qualified to run, so
the four commission races will be settled in the Republican primary.
However, no one qualified to
challenged Bob Thomas, a long-time radio personality, for the District 10 at-large
post, so he’s pretty much in, barring an unusual victory from an August
Ed Brantly, another local radio
personality, will challenge former Commissioner Michele Carringer for the other
at-large seat (District 11); and Bo Bennett, Charles Busler and Rodney Lane
will vie for the District 7 post.
Randy Smith, who works in the
county’s risk management department, will take on Jason Chandler and Billy
Stephens in the District 3 race.
Commissioners Tony Norman
(District 3) and R. Larry Smith (District 7) are term-limited.
Five of the nine non-partisan
Board of Education seats are up, but only one will more than likely be settled
in the primary.
Incumbent Pam Trainor will face
political newcomer Amber Rountree, a librarian at Halls Elementary, for the 9th
District seat, which represents South Knox County.
The District 7 race pits Patti Lou
Bounds and Andrew Graybeal against R. Larry Smith, the current county
commission vice chairman.
Incumbent Gloria Deathridge, the
board’s current vice chairwoman, will face Marshall Walker and Robert Boyd for her District 1 post.
Candidates need to get 50 percent
“plus one” to outright win the primary and thus the election. If no one does,
then the top two vote-getters in the race will advance to August.
In District 4, Sally Absher and
Jeffrey Clark will challenge Lynne Fugate, the board’s current chairwoman.
The District 6 race features Brad
Buchanan, Terry Hill, Sandra Rowcliffe and Tamara Shepherd.
Thomas Deakins (District 6) and
Kim Severance (District 7) opted not to seek re-election.
The 16 judge races comprise almost
half of the county seats that are up for election but only six are contested.
Attorneys Kristi Davis, Ray
Jenkins and Billy Stokes will vie for the Division 1 circuit court judge post
in the Republican primary. Incumbent Dale Workman will not seek re-election.
Harold Wimberly Jr, a Democrat and
the incumbent Division 2 circuit court judge, will face Republican William
“Bill” Ailor in the general election.
Patti Jane Lay and Greg McMillan
will face off in the Republican primary for the Division 4 circuit court judge
post with the winner going against, either Daniel Kidd, or David Valone, both
Democrats running in the only contested county Democratic Primary, in the general
Incumbent Bill Swann opted not to run again.
Long-time Chancellor Daryl Fansler,
a Democrat, will face Republican Clarence Pridemore in the general election.
Incumbent Patricia Long, a
Republican, will square off against Democrat George Underwood Jr. for the
Division 3 general sessions judge post.
County prosecutor Leland Price,
who handled prosecutions in the trials connected to the torture-slayings of
Channon Christian and Christopher Newsome, will face Scott Green for the
Division 3 criminal court judge seat. Green, a local attorney and former
prosecutor, was appointed to represent
Letalvis Cobbins, one of the suspects, in the 2009 Christian-Newsome trial.
Price is a Democrat and Green is a
Incumbent Mary Beth Leibowitz is
retiring at the end of the term.