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Voters cast their ballots during early voting at the Hamilton County Election Commission on Amnicola Highway.

Once they get past the presidential, state and federal offices on the ballot, voters in most of Southeast Tennessee's rural counties will pick city and county leaders, and some will decide whether to allow consumption and sales of alcohol.

Folks in Bledsoe, Franklin, Grundy, Marion, McMinn, Polk and Rhea counties will see contested races for government posts while local ballots in Bradley, Meigs and Sequatchie have no opposed races or no local races at all, election records show.

Contested county commission seats are up for grabs in Franklin and Marion, and an unexpired Bledsoe County Board of Education seat is on the ballot there.

There will be contested municipal elections in Monteagle for mayor and two alderman seats that will appear on ballots in Franklin, Grundy and Marion, the counties that split the mountaintop town three ways.

Other city elections will be held in Marion County for Jasper mayor and two alderman seats; South Pittsburg mayor and two alderman seats, and three Whitwell City Commission seats. In McMinn County, voters will pick two Athens City Council seats. And in Rhea County, voters will pick the Graysville mayor and four commissioners.

NO CANDIDATES

Several municipal races in Southeast Tennessee lack candidates.

Grundy County, one of the smallest counties in the region, has city races on the ballot in Coalmont and Palmer that didn't draw enough candidates to fill open seats.

In Coalmont, just one candidate is seeking two open alderman seats, and Palmer drew no candidates for two alderman seats or for the unexpired term of another alderman seat, records show.

Grundy County Administrator of Elections Donna Basham said the situation has come up before in Grundy, but not in two towns in the same election.

Basham said write-in candidates are vying for the open slots.

The lack of candidates hasn't hampered voter interest, she said.

"We've had over 2,200 early vote, and that doesn't sound like a lot, but we only have 7,700 registered voters," Basham said. "In 2008, we had a lot to vote early and there was about 1,650 voted then. We've surpassed that already."

In Marion County, no one is seeking an unexpired alderman seat in New Hope, and in the McMinn County town of Niota, only two candidates are seeking three open City Commission seats, records show.

A similar situation exists in the Polk County town of Copperhill, where there are just two candidates for three open City Commission seats.

Municipalities' governing rules — called a charter — offer solutions for empty posts, according to Adam Ghassemi, spokesman for the Tennessee Secretary of State's office.

"For municipal elections, if no one is running (assuming there are no certified write-ins who received a vote) a vacancy would exist and the vacancy would be filled according to the local charter," Ghassemi said via email. Most charters allow appointments by the governing body.

WINE AND SPIRITS

Also on the ballot, retail wine sales referendums go before voters in Dayton, Jasper and Kimball. Residents of those towns will decide whether to allow the sale of wine in food stores.

Elsewhere, Polk County voters will weigh in on countywide, on-premises alcohol consumption and package stores, and Tracy City voters in Grundy County will decide whether they want to allow on-premises consumption of alcohol, records show.

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

RURAL REGION BALLOT ROUNDUP

 

Listed below are contested local government races and referendums across Southeast Tennessee's rural counties. Uncontested races are not shown.

Bledsoe County

School Board, 1st District, Part B (unexpired independent seat)

Vote for one

Kay Cooke

Jacob Frady

Robbie Taylor

Jamie Wyatt

Franklin County

County Commission, District 8, Seat B (unexpired seat)

Vote for one

Republican

Sam Hiles

Democrat

Dale Amacher

Monteagle Mayor

Vote for one (independent seat)

Marilyn Campbell-Rodman

Alexander "Lex" Orr

David Sampley

Monteagle Alderman

Vote for two (independent seats)

Jessica D. Blalock

Kenneth Wayne Gipson

Harry Parmley

Alvin Powell Jr.

Grundy County

Monteagle Mayor

Vote for one (independent seats)

Marilyn Campbell-Rodman

Alexander "Lex" Orr

David Sampley

Monteagle Alderman

Vote for two (independent seats)

Jessica D. Blalock

Kenneth Wayne Gipson

Harry Parmley

Alvin Powell Jr.

Referendums

Tracy City

Sale of alcohol for on-premises consumption

Yes

No

Marion County

County Commission, 5th District, Seat B

Vote for one (unexpired seat)

Democrat Ralph Pickett

Independent Ken (Penny) Skiles

Jasper Mayor

Vote for one (independent seat)

Paul Wayne Evans

Billy Simpson

Jasper Alderman

Vote for two (independent seats)

Josh Jennings

Jason Turner

Paul West

Jasper Referendum

Wine sales in retail food stores

Yes

No

Kimball Referendum

Wine sales in retail food stores

Yes

No

Monteagle Mayor

Vote for one (independent seat)

Marilyn Campbell-Rodman

Alexander "Lex" Orr

David Sampley

Monteagle Alderman

Vote for two (independent seats)

Jessica D. Blalock

Kenneth Wayne Gipson

Harry Parmley

Alvin Powell Jr.

South Pittsburg Mayor

Vote for one (independent seat)

Jane W. Dawkins

Virgil Holder

Bill Stuart

South Pittsburg City Commission, 1st District

Vote for one (independent seat)

Jimmy Paul Haley Jr.

Jimmy Wigfall

South Pittsburg City Commission, 2nd District

Vote for one (independent seat)

Ray Powers

Samantha B. Rector

Whitwell City Commission

Vote for three (independent seats)

Steve Atterton

Herman Wade Brown

Polly Copeland

Sandra Powell Crabtree

Mike Dillon

Marilyn Tate Frazier

Chris L. Morrison

Jimmy W. Nunley

Terry (Fuzz) Parker

McMinn County

Athens City Council (independent seats)

Vote for two

Chuck Burris

Whitney Kimball Coe

John Coker

Jordan Curtis

Tim Hughes

Polk County

Referendum (county-wide)

Sale of alcohol for on-premises consumption

Yes

No

Retail package stores

Yes

No

Benton City Commission

Vote or two (independent seats)

Joe Jenkins

Gary McDonald

Gene Pack

Copperhill Mayor (independent seat)

Billy Brackett

Jerry Gilliam

Kathy A. Stewart

Rhea County

Referendum

Dayton

Wine sales at retail food stores

Yes

No

Graysville Mayor

Vote for one (independent seat)

Robbie Davenport

Ted Doss

Graysville Commission

Vote for four (independent seats)

Robert (Bobby) Baldwin

Andy Beene

Jimmy Lee Massengill

Michael May

DeNesa Reel

Ron Scott

David Sulcer

Source: Tennessee Secretary of State, local election commissions

 

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