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Staff Photo by Robin Rudd / Hamilton County mayoral candidate Weston Wamp greets voter Heather Ericson before she goes in to vote in Tuesday's primary election at Rivermont Presbyterian Church.

Any speculation that a last-minute push for Black voters was made to help Weston Wamp win the Republican primary for Hamilton County mayor would be interesting if it could be proven. Unfortunately, unofficial voting totals don't back up the claim.

Reports circulated about such a push, but an analysis of the precincts with the heaviest concentration of Black voters indicates the relative few who pulled Republican ballots were all over the board with their choices.

Wamp, who won the primary by about 1% of the vote, indeed, did win the most votes in the 15 precincts with the highest concentration of Black voters, 620, but runner-up Sabrena Smedley pulled in 483 and third-place finisher Matt Hullander 472.

(READ MORE: Wamp edges out Smedley to win Republican nomination for Hamilton County mayor)

If the message was to vote overwhelmingly for Wamp, the voters apparently didn't get the message. The 137-vote differential wasn't even half of the 314 votes by which Wamp edged Smedley.

In fact, Smedley took the most votes in three of the districts, and Hullander captured the highest number in one district and tied for the top spot in another.

To take just two examples, in Alton Park, Wamp had 11 votes, Smedley 10 and Hullander 8. In Avondale, Wamp had 7 votes, Hullander 6 and Smedley 4.

Instead, Wamp showed strength in almost all the county.

(READ MORE: Four Hamilton County Commission races decided in primary election)

In the end, Wamp won 54 precincts and tied in one, lagging only in the county's fastest growing eastern section, where Smedley is a Hamilton county commissioner. Smedley captured 27 precincts, mostly in the eastern section, and tied in one. Hullander took seven and tied in two precincts.

Of the 15 districts with the heaviest Black votes, Wamp had his best showing in Kingspoint and St. Elmo, where he topped Smedley by 23 and 52 votes, respectively, but both of those are decidedly mixed-race districts.

His highest percentage of the vote — where he gained at least 45% — came in Dalewood, Eastside, Ridgeside and St. Elmo.

(READ MORE: Coty Wamp ousts Neal Pinkston for Republican nomination for Hamilton County district attorney)

Smedley topped 45% in Apison A, Hurricane Creek, Ooltewah Georgetown, Ooltewah Ringgold, Savannah Bay and Westview A, all areas she either represents on the Hamilton County Commission or are adjacent to those areas.

Hullander reached 45% in the Flat Top Mountain and Mountain Creek C precincts.

Many people had counted Wamp out after two of his friends and supporters released false campaign mailers against Smedley and ones filled with only half-truths against Hullander. But the candidate denied involvement, and it appeared to do little, if any, damage to his campaign. What damage it did to the two who were the targets of the negative advertising is impossible to gauge.

(READ MORE: Most of Hamilton County Commission, half of school board changing along with new leaders at the top)

Unofficial vote totals also showed where winners in other races had strength.

In the District 1 county commission Republican primary, where two-term Commissioner Randy Fairbanks was defeated by Soddy-Daisy Commissioner and former Mayor Gene-o Shipley, the incumbent won the most southern parts of his district, closer to where he grew up and where his accounting firm is located. But Shipley won the areas in and around the city of Soddy-Daisy, ultimately taking about 3.6% of the vote more than Fairbanks.

In the District 8 commission GOP primary, it was a similar story. Current District 8 school board representative Tucker McClendon won two of the most northern precincts, closer to where he grew up. But winner Mike Chauncey, a current East Ridge city councilman and vice mayor, won three of the four East Ridge precincts and tied McClendon in the fourth one.

(READ MORE: Hamilton County voters choose Kuehn for school board; other races headed to August general election)

In the District 10 Republican primary, one of two new districts created after the 2020 census, Jeff Eversole knocked off Dean Moorhouse with strength throughout all eight precincts. Though Moorhouse won two of them, Eversole rolled up large vote totals in both.

Among Democrats, former 13-year County Commissioner Greg Beck dominated in the District 5 primary, easily winning all 11 precincts against three other opponents.

Similarly, in District 11, the other new district created after the 2020 census, Montrell Besley crushed his two opponents, taking all seven precincts.

In the race for district attorney general, where Wamp's sister, Coty, rolled past first-term incumbent Neal Pinkston, she showed strength throughout the county. Pinkston won only three precincts — Alton Park, Bushtown and Dalewood, where only small numbers voted in the GOP primary — and tied in one other precinct, Avondale.

(READ MORE: These are the next judges in Hamilton County)

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