published Friday, August 3rd, 2012

John Graham retains Marion County mayor post

John Graham stands in front of the Marion County Courthouse in this file photo.
John Graham stands in front of the Marion County Courthouse in this file photo.
Photo by Tim Barber /Chattanooga Times Free Press.
Were you surprised by any election results?

Democratic appointee John Graham held his post as Marion County mayor with 59 percent of the vote in Thursday's face-off with Republican challenger Gary Ellis for the remaining two years of the term for the top county seat.

"I'm very pleased with the outcome. Obviously, it's a long campaign to have the primary [in March] and the general," Graham, 58, said after polls closed Thursday night.

His supporters played a vital role, he said.

"It was due to their work more than mine that I was able to persevere," he said.

Graham, formerly the highway superintendent for more than a decade, was appointed in December 2010 to replace the late County Mayor David Kirk, who died the month before of complications stemming from a horseback riding accident.

Graham had defeated Mack Reeves in the March Democratic primary while Ellis was unopposed in the GOP primary.

In another contested, high-profile race, Democratic incumbent Neil Webb won 58 percent of the vote to hold his seat as road superintendent against Republican challenger James H. Hawk.

Administrator of Elections Gary Reames said turnout in Marion was "very low" in early voting and election day balloting.

Reames said he was not sure why, but otherwise the day went almost without a hitch.

"We did have one problem when the storm came through," he said of the Whitwell Mountain precinct. "We ran off the generator. The power came back on at 6 p.m."

All 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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