Hamilton County voters Thursday chose Republican Jeffrey Atherton as Hamilton County's new Chancery Court judge.

Chancery Court Judge

95.6% precincts reporting

Jeff Atherton - 25,175

Valerie Epstein - 10,972

Art Grisham - 7,880

Atherton, with 22 years of legal practice and 20 years experience in coaching home-schooled children in the ways of mock trials, will fill the vacancy left by longtime Chancellor Howell Peoples. Peoples retired at the end of March, four years before his term was to end in 2014.

"I am honored and truly humbled," Atherton said as the last of the votes were counted. "I hope I can continue the tradition of fair and impartial jurisprudence that Judge Peoples had, and I hope I can work as hard as (sitting) Chancellor Frank Brown."

Chancery Court is where probate matters and general disputes over money are resolved. Legal fights between the city and county also generally are litigated in the Chancery Court.

Atherton, 49, defeated Democrat Valerie Epstein and independent Arthur Grisham.

Atherton, with bachelor's and law degrees from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, is married and has four children who range in age from 7 to 23. He has practiced law in Hamilton County for 20 years.

The chancellor earns $154,320 and normally serves eight years. Atherton will serve out the remaining four years of Peoples' term, then face re-election for a full term.