Upsets, new faces and wine and spirits stir results across Southeast Tennessee rural counties

Upsets, new faces and wine and spirits stir results across Southeast Tennessee rural counties

November 10th, 2016 by Ben Benton in Local Regional News
A University of Tennessee mug sits by a voting booth as a voter casts their ballot during early voting at the Hamilton County Election Commission on Amnicola Highway on Saturday, Oct. 22, 2016, in Chattanooga, Tenn.

A University of Tennessee mug sits by a...

Photo by Doug Strickland /Times Free Press.

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Local contested races in counties across the Southeast Tennessee region saw new leaders elected, some upsets and mostly approved referendums on wine and spirits.

Mayors were elected in Copperhill, Jasper, Monteagle and South Pittsburg, as well as to some county and city commissioner and alderman posts in those towns' home counties. Wine-in-stores votes in Dayton, Jasper and Kimball passed. Two referenda — on-premises alcohol sales and consumption, and packages stores — netted the majority of votes in Polk County, but Tracy City voters in Grundy County said no to on-premises consumption of alcohol there.

Provisional ballots are still being counted and results are unofficial until county election commissions certify them, so some results could change, officials said. The last day for commissions to certify elections is Nov. 28.


Jasper, Monteagle and South Pittsburg voters saw incumbent mayors fall to challengers in tight races on Tuesday.

In Jasper, former mayor Billy Simpson lost his bid to regain the post from incumbent Paul Wayne Evans, who nearly doubled Simpson's tally. Josh Jennings and incumbent Paul West beat out Jason Turner for two open Jasper alderman seats.

In Monteagle, incumbent mayor Marilyn Campbell-Rodman lost to David Sampley by just 15 votes, while former alderman and vice mayor Alexander "Lex" Orr finished a distant third. For two open alderman seats, Monteagle voters picked Jessica D. Blalock and incumbent Alvin Powell Jr.

In South Pittsburg, incumbent mayor Jane W. Dawkins was defeated by newcomer Virgil Holder by more than 100 votes. In the race for South Pittsburg City Commission District 1 Jimmy Paul Haley Jr. defeated incumbent Jimmy Wigfall. In the City Commission District 2 race, Samantha B. Rector beat out Ray Powers for the post.

In Whitwell, Sandra Powell Crabtree, Jimmy W. Nunley and Terry "Fuzz"Parker garnered the most votes in a nine-way battle for three open City Commission seats.

In Copperhill, incumbent Kathy A. Stewart defeated challengers Billy Brackett and Jerry Gilliam for the mayor's post. On the other side of Polk County, voters picked incumbent Joe Jenkins and Gary McDonald over incumbent Gene Pack for two open Benton City Commission seats.

In the Athens City Council race in McMinn County, incumbent Chuck Burris and John Coker took two open seats in a five-way showdown with Whitney Kimball Coe, Jordan Curtis and Tim Hughes.

And in Graysville, incumbent mayor Ted Doss defeated challenger Robbie Davenport while a new panel — Robert "Bobby" Baldwin, Jimmy Lee Massengill, Ron Scott and David Sulcer — outpaced incumbents Andy Beene, Michael May and DeNesa Reel for four open City Commission seats.


In Bledsoe County, voters chose Jacob Frady by a large margin in a four-way race for the unexpired county school board District 1, Part B, post. Frady beat out challengers Kay Cooke, Robbie Taylor and Jamie Wyatt.

In Franklin County, Republican Sam Hiles outdistanced Democrat foe Dale Amacher by more than 300 votes.

In Marion County, independent Ken "Penny" Skiles beat Democrat Ralph Pickett for the unexpired District 5, Part B, seat on the County Commission.

Contact staff writer Ben Benton at or 423-757-6569.


Results in most cases do not include provisional ballots and are unofficial until they are certified by the respective county election commissions. The last day to certify elections is Nov. 28.

Winners are in bold.

Bledsoe County

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

Vote for one

Kay Cooke 81

Jacob Frady 329

Robbie Taylor 176

Jamie Wyatt 59

Franklin County

County Commission, District 8, Seat B Vote for one (unexpired seat)


Sam Hiles 1078


Dale Amacher 744

Grundy County


Tracy City

Sale of alcohol for on-premises consumption

Yes 238

No 245

Marion County

County Commission, 5th District, Seat B ;Vote for one (unexpired seat)

Democrat Ralph Pickett 865

Independent Ken (Penny) Skiles 1003

Jasper Mayor Vote for one (independent seat)

Paul Wayne Evans 1004

Billy Simpson 518

Jasper Alderman Vote for two (independent seats)

Josh Jennings 915

Jason Turner 689

Paul West 800

Jasper Referendum

Wine sales in retail food stores

Yes 1150

No 366

Kimball Referendum

Wine sales in retail food stores

Yes 436

No 146

Monteagle Mayor (includes votes from Franklin, Grundy, Marion) Vote for one (independent seat)

Marilyn Campbell- Rodman 225

Alexander “Lex” Orr 78

David Sampley 240

Monteagle Alderman (includes votes from Franklin, Grundy, Marion) Vote for two (independent seats)

Jessica D. Blalock 381

Kenneth Wayne Gipson 118

Harry Parmley 172

Alvin Powell Jr. 175

South Pittsburg Mayor Vote for one (independent seat)

Jane W. Dawkins 346

Virgil Holder 494

Bill Stuart 282

South Pittsburg City Commission, 1st District Vote for one (Independent seat)

Jimmy Paul Haley Jr. 190

Jimmy Wigfall 173

South Pittsburg City Commission, 2nd District Vote for one (independent seat)

Ray Powers 125

Samantha B. Rector 185

Whitwell City Commission Vote for three (independent seats)

Steve Atterton 120

Herman Wade Brown 97

Polly Copeland 88

Sandra Powell Crabtree 223

Mike Dillon 108

Marilyn Tate Frazier 117

Chris L. Morrison 171

Jimmy W. Nunley 262

Terry (Fuzz) Parker 259

McMinn County

Athens City Council Vote for two (independent seats)

Chuck Burris 2344

Whitney Kimball Coe 1592

John Coker 1973

Jordan Curtis 931

Tim Hughes 1200

Polk County

Referendum (county-wide)

Sale of alcohol for on-premises consumption

Yes 3780

No 3032

Retail package stores

Yes 3949

No 2863

Benton City Commission Vote for two (independent seats)

Joe Jenkins 416

Gary McDonald 358

Gene Pack 269

Copperhill Mayor Vote for one (independent seat)

Billy Brackett 51

Jerry Gilliam 23

Kathy A. Stewart 92

Rhea County



Wine sales at retail food stores

Yes 1538

No 517

Graysville Mayor Vote for one (independent seat)

Robbie Davenport 120

Ted Doss 269

Graysville Commission Vote for four (independent seats)

Robert (Bobby) Baldwin 175

Andy Beene 154

Jimmy Lee Massengill 248

Michael May 142

DeNesa Reel 130

Ron Scott 255

David Sulcer 224

Source: Tennessee Secretary of State, local election commissions