Thursday, August 4, 2016

Knox Co. Commish down to 1 Democrat

Evelyn Gill
The 11-member Knox County Commission will be down to a lone Democrat when officials are sworn in later this year.

Republicans on Thursday evening almost completed the political sweep during the general election, with only newcomer Evelyn Gill defeating Republican Michael Covington and independent Tyrone LaMar Fine in the Democrat-heavy 1st District that includes Lonsdale, Fort Sanders and Holston Hills.

Gill secured a little more than 67 percent of the vote, according to unofficial returns, and will replace Sam McKenzie who opted not to run.

"We add diversity to the board of county commission, not only as a woman, not only as a minority, but I'm excited to get in and start work,” Gill said. "We have to move to the center in order to get the work of the first district done. We have to build consensus. That's the nature of what our democracy is about, but we also have to make sure that the voices of the first district are heard. That is what they put me in office to make sure of."

The board’s other Democrat – Amy Broyles – also chose not to seek re-election for her 2nd District seat. In that race, Republican Michele Carringer narrowly defeated Laura Kildare with 51.35 percent of the vote for that seat. The difference was 75 votes.

“I’m so humbled and so honored to be able to stand up here and tell you that the republicans have taken district 2 from the democrats tonight,” Carringer told the crowd of Republicans who gathered at the downtown Crowne Plaza Thursday. “I want to say my opponent ran a good race, and I wish her well in her future.”

Gill and Carringer join Hugh Nystrom and Carson Daily as new faces on the board.

Nystrom easily handled Marleen Davis in the 4th District race to represent part of west Knox County; and Daily beat Democrat James Hamilton and independent Tom Pierce with more than 58 percent of the vote to represent the 9th District in south Knox County.

“Marlene Davis really gave me a great run in this general election,” said Nystrom, who secured almost 58 percent of the vote. “I was not able take a break this summer.”

Nystrom called the primary and general elections with his opponents “civil, good races.”

“I hope to be a humble servant that listens well,” he added.

In addition, incumbent John Schoonmaker defeated Democrat Sheri Ridgeway in the 5th District with almost 76 percent of the vote, and incumbent Brad Anders beat Donna Lucas, a Democrat, for the 6th District seat with almost 66 percent of the vote.

Also, incumbent Dave Wright handily beat Donald Wiser, an independent, for the 8th District seat in East Knox County. Wright secured almost 80 percent of the vote, according to unofficial returns.

Nystrom is the only board member to unseat an incumbent. In March he beat fellow Republican Jeff Ownby. Mike Brown, who represented south Knox County didn’t run again.

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