published Friday, August 3rd, 2012

Keith Cartwright will be new Sequatchie County executive

Were you surprised by any election results?

Sequatchie County chose a new face to fill the nonpartisan seat behind the County Executive's desk Thursday.

Candidates Keith Cartwright and Jeffrey Mackey battled for the county's top job for the first time as the lone contenders, with Cartwrightnetting a whopping 68 percent of the tally to gain the seat and finish out remaining two years of the post's unexpired term.

"I'm so thankful for all my family and friends who supported me through this thing," Cartwright said Thursday night after the polls closed.

"Everybody's in a tough fiscal situation," he said. "We have some tough decisions to make. I'm looking forward to the challenge."

Thursday's county executive battle was something of a rematch for the two, but this time it was just a two-way race. March 2011 appointee to the seat, Claude Lewis, decided not to try to keep the seat.

In 2010, Cartwright and Mackey lost to former seat-holder Michael Hudson, who was defending the position he had been held since being appointed to replace previous County Executive David B. Barker, who resigned for health reasons in 2007.

Cartwright also was among nominees for appointment to replace Hudson after he resigned, but Lewis, already a longtime county commissioner, got the nod as appointee.

In other contested races, Chris Albright defeated Gary L. Williams for the County Commission District 1 seat, Phillip David Martin beat out Bradley R. Scott for the County Commission District 8 seat and Samuel F. Hudson beat Curtis L. Haman in the school board District 5 race, results show.

Administrator of Elections Linda Pittman Tate said turnout Thursday was a "little slow" early but early voting numbers this time around probably more than made up for it.

"We had more vote early than we did four years ago in the whole election," Tate said. "We had 1,094 vote early."

The World's Longest Yard Sale and redistricting probably prompted many to vote early at the Election CommAll vote totals, which include federally mandated provisional ballots, are unofficial until certified by the Tennessee secretary of state.

about Ben Benton...

Ben Benton is a news reporter at the Chattanooga Times Free Press. He covers Southeast Tennessee and previously covered North Georgia education. Ben has worked at the Times Free Press since November 2005, first covering Bledsoe and Sequatchie counties and later adding Marion, Grundy and other counties in the northern and western edges of the region to his coverage. He was born and raised in Cleveland, Tenn., a graduate of Bradley Central High School. Benton ...

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