published Sunday, January 26th, 2014

Busy ballot shaping up in Bledsoe County

KEY ELECTION DATES

Feb. 6: Qualifying deadline for candidates for sheriff to provide documentation of Peace Officer Standards and Training Commission certification

Feb. 20, 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

May 6: Primary election

Source: Bledsoe County Election Commission

Bledsoe County, Tenn.'s May 6 primary ballot could be loaded with contested Republican primaries as the list of people picking up qualifying petitions grows longer.

The qualifying deadline is noon on Feb. 20.

"I think it's going to be a big election," Bledsoe County Administrator of Elections Lisa Wheeler said.

"We always have had pretty good turnout," she said. "Bledsoe County likes to participate in voting on the issues."

If everyone who has picked up petitions to date qualifies to run, the Republican primaries for sheriff and county mayor will be hot tickets. There could be a three-way battle in the sheriff primary, two contested County Commission seats and a contest for road superintendent.

SHERIFF

As of Friday evening, four people had picked up qualifying paperwork to run for sheriff, three of them Republicans, election records show.

Sheriff Jimmy Morris could face former chief deputy Gary Johnson and Roy L. Pelfrey in the Republican primary. Doug Roberson is the lone Democrat to pick up papers for the sheriff's race so far. Roberson ran in the May 2006 primary, election records show.

COUNTY MAYOR

Gregg Ridley, a former county mayor, has filed his qualifying paperwork and could face a challenge from Rodney Warran in the Republican primary. The winner could face Democratic incumbent County Mayor Bobby Collier, who is the only person to pick up papers for his party's primary ticket so far.

ROAD SUPERINTENDENT

Road Superintendent Marvin Smith has filed qualifying paperwork for the Republican slot for the post. Fellow Republican Shayne Bickford has picked up paperwork to run for road superintendent and for County Commission District 1, Part C. Another county commissioner, Robert Reece, has picked up papers to run on the Democratic ticket for road superintendent, as well as his District 1, Part B commission seat. Bickford and Reece can qualify only for one race.

COUNTY COMMISSION

Newcomers Nathan Riddle and Aaron Yeargan have filed qualifying papers in the Republican primary for the District 3, Part A commission seat. And records show Republicans Barry A. Smith and Christina K. Sharp could face off for the District 4 Part A seat.

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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