Hamilton County Commission, mayor, assessor races yield few surprises

Hamilton County Commission, mayor, assessor races yield few surprises

March 8th, 2012 in Opinion Free Press

There were few surprises in the handful of Hamilton County races in Tuesday's primary, but the results suggest that county residents will vote excellent leaders into office in the Aug. 2 general election.

County Mayor Jim Coppinger rolled to a big win in the Republican primary, garnering more than 25,000 votes to William Turner's 2,544 and Basil Marceaux's 964.

That was a justified margin of victory, given Coppinger's efforts to promote economic development and his steady leadership. We recommend a big turnout for him in the general election, where he will face Democrat Rick Wilson and independent Richard Ford.

There was a mild upset in the race for the District 3 County Commission seat currently held by interim Commissioner Mitch McClure, who was appointed to fill Coppinger's seat last year. Challenger Marty Haynes defeated McClure by a tally of 3,029 votes to 2,280.

We had backed McClure on the basis of his good service during his relatively short time on the commission. But Haynes has campaigned hard and shown a deep and rightly motivated interest in serving. So we believe that District 3, which includes Hixson, Middle Valley and some areas along the northern bank of the Tennessee River, will also be well served if Haynes prevails against Democrat Mitzi Leigh Yates in the general election. Haynes is a sales representative for Porter Warner Industries. Yates works for BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee.

In the other local race, Assessor of Property Bill Bennett was unchallenged in the Republican primary and racked up 25,459 votes. His strong showing is understandable, given his long and highly lauded service in his position. He will face Democrat Jelena Butler and independent Conrad Taylor in August, and we urge a robust show of support to keep Bennett in office.

We commend all the candidates on their willingness to enter the sometimes unpleasant political arena, and we encourage county residents to study the candidates and issues prior to the general election.