Note: This story was updated on May 5 to correct the name of the school proposed for a new gym.
In two of the closest Hamilton County Commission races in Tuesday's Republican primary, the prevailing candidates both gave credit to their work as members of governing bodies for county municipalities for swaying votes in their favor.
Gene-o Shipley, who's served on the Soddy-Daisy City Commission for 26 years, received 42.2% of the vote in the District 1 race, narrowly beating two-term incumbent and fellow Soddy-Daisy resident Randy Fairbanks, who received 38% of the vote. Business owner and educator Stacy Swallows, of Sale Creek, received 19.3% of the vote.
"I think a lot of that had to do with the work I've done here in Soddy-Daisy," Shipley said by phone Wednesday, as to why he thinks voters chose him over the other candidates. "I believe even though Soddy-Daisy voters turned out good for me, a lot of Bakewell, Falling Water and Sale Creek as well knew that I've worked hard in Soddy-Daisy all them years, and I think they trusted that I'd work hard for District 1."
Shipley said he plans to finish the remaining two years of his term on the Soddy-Daisy board.
As a county commissioner, he said his goals are to push for funding for a new Soddy-Daisy Middle School and a gym for Daisy Elementary, but the needs of the rest of District 1 will be priorities as well. Shipley said he plans to hold community meetings in Sale Creek to learn more about the needs of that area and what residents expect from him.
Fairbanks could not be reached for comment. District 1 covers Soddy-Daisy, Sale Creek, Sequoyah, Falling Water and Dallas.
In another close race, East Ridge Vice Mayor Mike Chauncey took 53.1% of the vote in District 8 compared to Hamilton County school board Chairman Tucker McClendon's 46.9%.
District 8 covers East Ridge, Concord and Brainerd Hills.
Chauncey said he's proud to be a part of the leadership of the city of East Ridge and feels the city's success while he's been in that role contributed to voters' decision to pick him as their next county commissioner.
"We have made some unprecedented amounts of growth throughout the city of East Ridge, and obviously, it's plain to see we've made a lot of progress here in this district," Chauncey said by phone Wednesday."[The voters] knew that putting their trust and faith in me to continue to serve the District 8 area, they knew that we would continue to progress."
He said he will continue to serve as vice mayor of East Ridge until his term ends in November.
McClendon praised the school board Wednesday when asked if he felt his performance on that panel influenced whether people voted for him.
"The school board has seen unprecedented success for Hamilton County Schools in the last four years that I've been on the school board," McClendon said Wednesday by phone. "It's a lot more complicated than the city of East Ridge.
"At the end of the day, the people of East Ridge and District 8 had a choice to make, and they made their choice. I wish him all the best."
Both Shipley and Chauncey won despite raising less money than their opponents.
Shipley raised $10,500, while Fairbanks brought in $66,200. Swallows also raised more than Shipley with $12,100.
Chauncey raised $24,050 compared to McClendon's $29,615.
Contact Emily Crisman at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6508.