published Thursday, February 20th, 2014

Loaded GOP primary ballot shaping up for sheriff, county mayor in Franklin

KEY ELECTION DATES

Today, noon: Qualifying deadline for those running as Republican, Democrat or independent

Feb. 27, noon: Withdrawal deadline

April 7: Last day for voters to register to vote in May 6 primary election

April 16: First day of early voting

May 1: Last day of early voting

May 6: Primary election

Source: Franklin County Election Commission

The May 6 primary ballot in Franklin County, Tenn., is loaded so far with potential GOP candidates for county mayor and sheriff and some county posts, while only two posts could be contested among Democrats and one among independents.

If all those who picked up qualifying petitions file them, the Republican primaries for county mayor and sheriff could be battles between a trio of hopefuls for each post. There also are contested races shaping up for register of deeds, county commissioner and road commissioner, as of Tuesday.

Election Commission officials say potential candidates have until noon today to file qualifying petitions.

COUNTY MAYOR

Democrat incumbent County Mayor Richard Stewart has qualified and is unopposed in his primary but it's a potential three-way race among Republicans Bill Green, Mike Hart and Wayne Hart on the GOP's May ballot, election records show. Green and Mike Hart have filed qualifying petitions, while Wayne Hart has not.

SHERIFF

The sheriff's seat could wind up in a similar three-way Republican standoff in May among Bruce Elliot, Mike Foster and Robert White. Elliot and Foster have filed qualifying petitions while White has not. Incumbent Democrat Tim Fuller has qualified and, so far, has drawn no opposition.

COUNTY COMMISSION

A pair of Republicans could end up vying for District 2's seat A on the County Commission. Incumbent John A. Page has filed qualifying papers, while Lisa D. Mason picked up paperwork but has not yet filed.

Two other Republicans, Don Cofer and A.J. Ladd, could face each other for District 8 seat A. Cofer has filed qualifying papers while Ladd has not.

Two independent candidates could duel for a slot for the District 5 seat B post in the Independent primary. Daniel C. Ferguson has not yet filed a qualifying petition, while Art Hanson has qualified. Lone Democrat Helen F. Stapleton picked up paperwork but has not yet filed to run for that seat.

REGISTER OF DEEDS

The Democratic ballot will see a showdown between incumbent Lydia Curtis Johnson and challenger James R. Cantrell. Both have filed qualifying petitions. So far, there are no Republican candidates for the office, records show.

ROAD COMMISSIONER

A three-way race for road commissioner of Districts 6 and 8 could be on the Democratic ballot pitting Wade Hill, who has qualified, against Tommy Pendergraff and Earl L. Davis, both of whom records show have not yet filed qualifying papers. Lone independent John Ballard picked up qualifying papers for the seat but hasn't filed.

Contact staff writer Ben Benton at bbenton@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6569.

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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