Summer elections held in 12 municipalities
By KATE COIL
TML Communications Specialist
Elections were held in 12 municipalities this summer, including a mayoral run-off in Jackson and a highly contested mayoral race in Nashville.
Incumbent Josephine Holman will be joined by newcomer Price Tucker on the Cowan City Council after defeating challenger Tiffany L. Walker for the two open seats in an Aug. 3 election. Tucker led the vote count with 76 followed by Holman with 74 and Walker with 33.
Mary Nell Hess ran unopposed and was elected as mayor of Decherd with 111 complimentary votes in an Aug. 3 election. Hess has been serving as mayor of Decherd since October 2022 after former Mayor Michael Gillespie resigned. Prior to her appointment, Hess served as Decherd’s vice mayor.
Two newcomers were also seated on the Decherd Board of Mayor and Aldermen. Larry E. Fraley and Glenn T. Summers defeated fellow challengers Mark Bassett and Anita Bohanan for the two open seats. Fraley led the vote count with 110 followed by Summers with 100, Bohanan with 53, and Bassett with 20. Fraley and Summers will take the seats vacated by Hess and former Vice Mayor Richard Gulley, who resigned in March.
Incumbent Mayor James David Kelley ran unopposed and was re-elected with 51 complimentary votes in Estill Springs’ Aug. 3 election. In the Board of Aldermen race, four incumbents also ran unopposed for four open seats. Earl L. Davis led the vote count with 42 followed by Bobby Taylor with 38, Pat Thomas with 33, and Troy L. Jernigan with 29.
Incumbent Ginny Kidwell will be joined by newcomer Tim Ward filling the two open seats in Greeneville’s City Council Ward 1 on Aug. 3. They defeated incumbent Kirstin Girton. Ward led the vote count with 403 followed by Kidwell with 343 and Girton with 186.
Three incumbents ran unopposed and were re-elected to the seats on the Huntland Board of Mayor and Aldermen on Aug. 3. Troy Gamble led the vote count with 19 followed by Ken Pendleton and Harry E. Allen III both with 15.
Incumbent Scott Conger defeated challenger Ray Condray with Conger earning 5,304 votes to Condray’s 3,813 in a run-off election. This is the second time Jackson has held a run-off election for the mayoral seat and the second time Conger has run in and won a run-off election for mayor.
A municipal election was held in the city of Luttrell on June 6.
Incumbent mayor Jerry Lawson ran unopposed and was re-elected to the seat with 35 complimentary votes.
Newcomer Barry K. Corum will be joining incumbents Kyle Muncey and Lloyd Railey in the three open seats on the Luttrell City Council. Railey led the vote count with 33 followed by Muncey with 29 and Corum with 27.
The city of McEwen held an election on May 20 where three candidates ran unopposed for three open offices.
Incumbent Brad Rachford ran unopposed for the mayoral seat while fellow incumbents Heather Leegan and Kim Moultire ran unopposed for the alderman-at-large, and Ward 4 alderman seats respectively. Rachford earned 27 complimentary votes while Leegan and Moultire each earned 25 votes.
The city of Milledgeville held an election on May 27.
Incumbent Kevin Essary was re-elected to his seat on the Milledgeville Board of Mayor and Alderman with 14 votes while Perry Neal Smith was elected to the unexpired, two-year term he had been previously appointed to also with 14 votes.
Incumbent and Vice Mayor Brenda Essary had been on the ballot for one of the two open four-year alderman seats, but following the resignation of Milledgeville Mayor Ricky Hollin during the election period, Essary was appointed to his seat.
In the city of Nashville’s municipal election on Aug. 3, 106 candidates vied for 42 open seats. Run-offs will be held in the mayoral, at-large, and District 11 council seats after not enough votes were secured for candidates to be seated in those races.
A field of 11 candidates vied for the Nashville mayoral seat left vacant by the decision of current Mayor John Cooper to not seek re-election to a second term. A twelfth candidate, Jim Gingrich, remained on the ballot but dropped out of the race prior to the election. He still received 1,668 votes.
Freddie O’Connell and Alice Rolli took the top two spots and will go to a run-off election on Sept. 14. O’Connell led the vote total with 27,470 followed by Rolli with 20,458, Matthew Wiltshire with 17,186, Jeff Yarbro with 12,343, Heidi Campbell with 8,330, Sharon Hurt with 6,100, VIvian Wilhoite with 4,754, Natisha Brooks with 1,455, Stephanie Johnson with 577, Fran Bush with 503, and Bernie Cox with 321.
Councilmember Angie Henderson defeated incumbent Jim Shulman for Nashville’s vice mayor seat. Henderson earned 45,812 votes to Shulman’s 42,008.
Incumbent Zulfat Suara was the only one of 21 candidates for the five at-large seats on the Nashville City Council who secured enough votes to be seated. The remaining four seats will be determined through a run-off with the eight top candidates: Delishia Portfield, Burkley Allen, Olivia Hill, Howard Jones, Quin Evans-Segall, Russ Pulley, Chris Cheng, and Jeff Syracuse.
Suara earned 40,538 followed by Porterfield with 34,450, Allen with 30,296, Hill with 24,775, Jones with 25,309, Evans-Segall with 22,627, Pulley with 22,371, Cheng with 21,978, and Syracuse with 20,625. Candidates who did not secure enough votes to move on to the run-off include Marcia Massulla, Yolanda Hockett, Arnold Hayes, Chris Crofton, Ronnie Greer Sr., Tony Chapman, Stephen Downs, Deloris Vandivort, Gilbert Ramirez, Indrani Ray, Jonathan Williamson, and Brian Hellwig.
A run-off will also be held in the District 11 Metro Council race where none of the four candidates earned enough votes to secure the seat.
In District 11, Jeff Eslick, who earned 1,142 votes, will face off against Eric Patton, who earned 1,086 votes in the race. Challengers who didn’t earn enough votes to progress were Sherard Edington and Joe DeLucas. The seat was formerly held by Larry Hagar.
Newcomer Joy Smith Kimbrough defeated four fellow challengers for the District 1 seat previously held by Jonathan Hall. Kimbrough led the vote count with 2,115 followed by Ruby Baker with 681, Rob Harris with 413, Timothy Thompson with 208, and Sean Dailey with 125.
Davette Blalock defeated two challengers for the District 4 seat previously held by Robert Swope. Blalock earned 1,378 votes to challenger Mike Cortese’s 1,325 and Brian Sullivan’s 543.
Incumbent Sean Parker defeated challenger Terri Laine Klinger with 2,079 to 620 votes in the District 5 race. In District 6, newcomer Clay Clapp earned 2,739 votes to defeat Daniel McDonell (1,982 votes) and Brandes Holcomb (140) votes, for the seat previously held by Brett Withers.
Incumbent Emily Benedict defeated challenger Danny Williams with 3,598 to 486 votes for the District 7 seat while Deonte Harrell defeated fellow challenger Martez Coleman with 865 to 803 votes for the District 8 seat previously held by Nancy VanReece. In District 9, incumbent Tonya Hancock defeated challenger Stephanie Montenegro with 940 votes to 906.
In District 14, newcomer Jordan Huffman defeated fellow challenger R.J. Namula 1,786 to 320 in the seat formerly held by Kevin Rhoten. Newcomer Jeff Gregg also defeated fellow challenger Dan Jones 2,237 to 750 in the District 15 seat previously held by Jeff Syracuse. Incumbent Ginny Welsh held on to her District 16 seat against Alexa Little with 1,000 votes to 906.
For the District 17 seat previously held by Colby Sledge, Terry Vo earned 1,272 votes to defeat fellow challengers Teaka Jackson (697 votes) and Tonya Esquibel (396). Incumbent Tom Cash defeated challenger Angus Purdy 1,836 to 781 for the District 18 seat.
Newcomer Jacob Kupin earned 1,211 votes to defeat fellow challengers Jasper Hendricks III (377) and Jonathan Turner (309) for the District 19 seat previously held by Freddie O’Connell. Likewise, newcomer Rollin Horton earned 1,629 votes to fellow challenger Scott Gillihan’s 559 to secure the District 20 seat previously held by Mary Carolyn Roberts.
Incumbent Brandon Taylor secured a win over challenger Jamel Campbell-Gooch with 1,105 votes to 538 in the District 21 race while incumbent Thom Druffel defeated challenger Lisa Williams 3,544-1,500 to keep the District 23 seat.
Newcomer Jeff Prepitt earned 2,438 votes over fellow challenger’s David Ackerman’s 1,549 and Rolando Toyos’ 297 to earn the District 25 seat previously held by Russ Pulley. David Benton earned 557 votes to fellow challenger Travis London’s 366 to take the District 28 seat previously held by Tanaka Vercher.
In District 29, Tasha Ellis earned 911 votes, defeated fellow challengers John Reed (484), Michele Vetter (382), and Jana Mohamed (268) for the seat previously held by Delisha Portfield. Incumbent John Rutherford defeated challenger Dia Hart with 1,040 to 742 votes in the District 31 seat.
Newcomer Sandy Ewin defeated fellow challenger Luke Austin Elliot 2,979-1,416 in the District 34 seat previously held by Angie Henderson while newcomer Jason Spain defeated fellow challenger Carson Smart 2,852-637 for the District 35 seat previously held by Dave Rosenberg.
Seats in 11 districts were uncontested with nine incumbents and two newcomers taking seats. Incumbents re-elected to their seats included Kyonztè Toombs in District 2, Jennifer Gamble in District 3, Erin Evans in District 12, Russ Bradford in District 13, Courtney Johnson in District 25, Robert Nash in District 27, Sandra Sepulveda in District 30, Joy Styles in District 32, and Antoinette W. Lee in District 33. Sheri Weiner returned to the council after running unopposed for the District 22 seat previously held by Gloria Hausser. Brenda Gadd ran unopposed for the District 24 seat previously held by Kathleen Murphy.
A municipal election was held in Sweetwater on June 8. Incumbent Sam Moser and Alan Richeson will be joined by newcomer JoAnna Jinks on the Sweetwater City Commission after defeating challengers Branahm L. Lovingood and Cotton Upton.
Moser led the vote count with 370 followed by Richeson with 309, Jinks with 266, Lovingood with 240, and Upton with 182 votes.
Newcomer Sean Crabtree defeated challengers Steve Cagley and David A. Marlowe for the open mayoral seat in Winchester after incumbent Terry Harrell did not seek re-election in the Aug 3. election. Crabtree led the vote with 414 followed by Cagley with 315 and Marlowe with 113.
Incumbent Barbara Lucas will be joined on the Board of Aldermen by newcomer Mike Foster in the seat vacated by alderman Steve Cagley, both defeating three other candidates. Foster led the vote count with 343 followed by Lucas with 307, Tim L. Wright with 298, Kent Bean with 216, and Gary L. Horn with 215.