Chattanooga area elections Tuesday are mixed bag

Chattanooga area elections Tuesday are mixed bag

March 4th, 2012 by Ben Benton and Randall Higgins in News

Marion County Mayor John Graham

Marion County Mayor John Graham

Photo by John Rawlston /Times Free Press.


Tennessee: Polls are open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Georgia: Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Election ballots across rural Southeast Tennessee have a mix of contested local races and questions as voters head to polls Tuesday.

Appointees in Bradley and Marion counties will defend their seats in Tuesday's primaries, while property assessors' seats will be contested on primary ballots in Bledsoe, Marion, McMinn, Meigs and Rhea counties.

There are no local races on Tuesday's Northwest Georgia ballots. but voters will be weighing in on their preferences for president.


Bradley County voters will head to the polls in the Republican primary for former County Commissioner Howard Thompson's 4th District seat, where six candidates are vying.

Thompson resigned last year after being charged by state and local police with conspiracy to accept stolen goods at his flea market.

The County Commission appointed Cliff Eason to fill the vacancy until the election. Eason is the principal at Cleveland's Teen Learning Center, the city's alternative school. Two years are left in the term.

Tuesday's primary candidates are Eason; Charlotte Peak Jones, owner of K.A.C.E. Construction & Developments and Charlotte's Wallpaper; James Robert Peters, a former sheriff's office employee now employed with G4S Secure Solutions USA; Jim Smith, a former 4th District commissioner; Paul Bagley, retired from M&M Mars; and Paul Elrod, a retired surveyor, records show. There is no Democratic candidate.

Fifty miles to the west in Marion County, voters will pick from two candidates in Democratic primary races for county mayor.

John Graham, appointed to replace the late County Mayor David Kirk, faces challenger Mack Reeves in the Democratic primary for a spot on the August general election ballot.

Graham was serving his 15th year as road superintendent when he was appointed in December 2010 to fill Kirk's seat until the next county general election.

Reeves is the County Commission vice chairman and represents District 4.

The winner will face Republican candidate Gary Ellis to serve out the remaining two years of the term, records show.


There are two contested primaries in Bledsoe County's assessor of property race. Democratic contenders Stacey DeBord and Derek Forgey, and Republicans Jerry Hankins, Allen Nail and Ronnie Sapp will face off for spots on the general election ballot in August.

Marion County voters will choose between two candidates for assessor of property in the Democratic primary, Judy A. Brewer and Rick Carter, records show. There are no Republican candidates for the seat.

McMinn County voters will choose from six candidates for assessor of property in the Republican primary: Jerry Anderson, Margaret Stone Cheek, Jack Crittenden, Matt Goodin, Keith Price and Stephanie Womac Ring, records show. There are no Democratic candidates for the seat.

Voters in the Republican primary for assessor of property in Meigs County will pick from William C. "Billy" Breeden and Ronnie Jenkins, records show. The winner will face Democrat James Skipper Jackson in August.

And in Rhea County, voters will pick either Debbie Byrd or Andy Kelly in the Republican primary for assessor of property to face Democrat Kim Morgan Cranfill in August.


Marion County voters will give a thumbs up or down on a wheel tax that would place a $25 tax on motorcycles and a $50 tax on automobiles. Meanwhile, Sequatchie County voters will have their say on a sales tax referendum to increase the rate from 9.25 percent to 9.75 percent, election records show.

Polk County voters have only one local contested race, pitting Harold Hood and Roy Thomason against each other in the Democratic primary for road superintendent.