One of seven Hamilton County school board races was settled in Tuesday's primary election, while the others will go on to an August general election.
The District 9 seat on the Hamilton County Board of Education will change hands after Republican Gary Kuehn of Ooltewah defeated incumbent James Walker and Tate Smith of Chattanooga in the first-ever partisan school board elections.
"It's been a lot of work, a lot more than I expected," Kuehn said Tuesday of his campaign. "But over the last month, I've knocked on over 2,700 doors, and I think that's probably the difference in the election."
Walker was appointed to the school board in August 2021 by the Hamilton County Commission. He replaced Steve Highlander, who was named to the county commission after Chester Bankston resigned his post.
"I was honored that the county commission appointed me last August to fill the seat," Walker said. "I've always been a voice in the community. That's how I got that appointment to begin with. And I will continue to be a voice in District 9, whether I'm an elected official or a strong voice in the community because there's a lot of things that we've got to continue to work for."
District 9 includes the Birchwood, Hunter, Harrison, Harrison Bay, Wolftever and Meadowview communities.
There is no Democrat on the ballot for the District 9 seat in Aug. 4 county general election.
While Kuehn's win Tuesday night ensures his seat on the school board, voters will have a say in six other races in August.
— In District 3, Joe Smith was unopposed in the Republican primary and will face off against Democrat Jean Piroth, who was unopposed in the Democratic primary. The district includes the Dupont, Lakesite, Pleasant Grove, Ganns, Middle Valley, Valley Brook, Hixson and Northgate communities.
— In District 5, which includes Airport, Bonny Oaks, Dalewood, Eastgate and Tyner, Democrat incumbent Karitsa Mosley Jones will take on Republican Charles Paty. Both were unopposed in their respective primaries.
— In District 6, Republican Jon Baker of Red Bank defeated GOP primary opponents Cindy Fain of Chattanooga and Delores Gross Vinson of Chattanooga. Baker will face off against Democrat Ben Connor in August.
The district includes the Lupton City, Northshore, Red Bank, North Chattanooga, Riverview and Stuart Heights neighborhoods.
— In District 8, former Chattanooga City Councilman Larry Grohn was unopposed in the GOP primary, and will face Democrat Katie Perkins of Chattanooga, who defeated opponent Sandy Norris Smith of East Ridge.
District 8 includes Brainerd Hills, Concord and East Ridge.
The redistricting process this year following the 2020 census produced two new school board districts — 10, which encompasses Apison, Ooltewah, Silverdale, Collegedale, Summit, Ooltewah Georgetown and Savannah Bay, and 11, which includes Alton Park, East Lake, East Side, Lookout Mountain, Lookout Valley and St. Elmo.
— In District 10, Faye Robinson of Ooltewah won the Republican primary against GOP opponents Roddey Coe of Ooltewah and Patrick Lee of Ooltewah to earn a spot on the August ballot. Robinson will face Democrat Jeff Crim and independent Christine Essex.
— In District 11, both the Democratic and Republican candidates were unopposed in the primary. Democrat Jill Black and Republican Virginia Ann Manson, both of Lookout Mountain, will face independent Steve McKinney.
School board members in Districts 1, 2, 4 and 7 are not up for election this year.
Contact Carmen Nesbitt at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6327. Follow her on Twitter @carmen_nesbitt.