Roy Exum: Early Voting To Begin

Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

I’m told it is impossible to predict political races in Chattanooga and Hamilton County and, while most of this spring’s contests will be as boring as the Masters Golf Tournament finish late Sunday afternoon, I’m silly enough to give it a try. So as “early voting” for the May 6 primary begins on Wednesday morning, I’ll share what I think is going to happen.

The biggest primary races are for the Circuit Court Judge (Div. 1), Chancellor (Part 1), and for three of the nine seats on the Hamilton County Commission. Many of the key jobs, from County Mayor to Sheriff to County Clerk, will not be challenged but there is enough interest where early voting will set the tone for the Tuesday, May 6, vote in the next two and a half weeks.

Here’s what I think we’ll see in the primary races before the State Primary and County General Election will be decided by the voters on August 7. The General Election for state offices and municipalities will be held Nov. 4:

* * *

CIRCUIT COURT JUDGE, DIVISION 1 – J.B. Bennett (R), whose dad Bill has been such a delight as Hamilton County’s Property Assessor, has a well-earned yet slim edge going into the primary but I believe Catherine Cate White (R) would also serve us well. (Bill Bennett (R) was re-elected in 2012 to a four-year term.)

CIRCUIT COURT JUDGE, DIVISION 2 -- Jeff Hollingsworth (R) is unopposed in the primary and in the general election.

CIRCUIT COURT JUDGE, DIVISION 3 – L. Marie Williams (R) is unopposed in the primary and in the general election.

CIRCUIT COURT JUDGE, DIVISION 4 -- W. Neil Thomas (R) is unopposed in the primary and in the general election.

CHANCELLOR, PART 1 – Pam McNutt Fleenor (R) has been a tireless worker and has an edge over Joe Manuel (R) in the primary. Both are fine people and, as in the Div. 1 Circuit Court race, the hope is that whoever loses will try again. The winner will be unopposed in the general election.

CHANCELLOR, PART 2 – Jeffery M. Atherton (R) is unopposed in the primary and in the general election.

CRIMINAL COURT JUDGE, DIVISION 1 – Barry Steelman (R) is unopposed in the primary and in the general election.

CRIMINAL COURT JUDGE, DIVISION 2 – Rebecca J. Stern (R) is unopposed in the primary and in the general election.

CRIMINAL COURT JUDGE, DIVISION 3 – Don W. Poole (D) is unopposed in the primary and in the general election.

DISTRICT ATTORNEY – Neal Pinkston (R) is unopposed in the primary and in the general election. (He will replace the retiring Bill Cox and was such a popular choice that several worthy candidates chose not to run.)

PUBLIC DEFENDER – Steven E. Smith (R) and Ardena Garth (D) are unopposed in the primary.

COUNTY MAYOR – Jim Coppinger (R) will easily defeat Basil J. Marceaux (R) in the primary and Independent Richard Ford in the general election.

COUNTY COMMISSION, District 1 – Fred Rees Skillern (R) has such entrenched backing it will be hard for Randy Fairbanks (R) to  beat him in the primary election. Fairbanks has been heavily endorsed but the view here is that Skillern has done a good job for both the district and the county. The winner faces no opposition in the general election.

COUNTY COMMISSIONER, District 2 – James A. ‘Jim’ Fields (R) is unopposed in the primary and in the general election.

COUNTY COMMISSION, District 3 – Marty Haynes (R) is unopposed in the primary and in the general election.

COUNTY COMMISSION, District 4 – Pam Ladd (D) has a slight edge over incumbent Warren Mackey (D) and a sizable edge over Kirkland Robinson (D). (Ladd is a former member of the Chattanooga City Council.)

COUNTY COMMISSION, District 5 – Incumbent Greg Beck (D) has a healthy lead over Isiah Van Hester (D). The winner will be unopposed in the general election.

COUNTY COMMISSION, District 6 – Joseph ‘Joe’ Graham (R) and John Allen Brooks (D) are both unopposed in the primary election.

COUNTY COMMISSION, District 7 – Perry Perkins (R) has an edge and I feel is the best candidate after Phil Smartt (R) and Sabrena Turner (R) hurt themselves with bickering before early voting began. Ezra Maize (D) is an impressive newcomer and has an edge over Don Brown (D) in the other primary. The district is heavily Republican.

COUNTY COMMISSION, District 8 – Curtis Adams (R) will best serve the district and has a slight edge over incumbent Tim Boyd (R), whose caustic personality has hurt his chances as well as the district during his one term. Brent Lambert (R) has promise but lacks the clout Adams knows is needed on the commission. If defeated, Lambert should run again since Adams says he plans to only serve the one term necessary for District 8 to regain its footing. The winner in the primary will face Kenny Smith (D), who was defeated by Boyd in 2010, in the general election.

COUNTY COMMISSION, District 9 – Incumbent Chester Bankston (R) and Melinda Bone (D) are both unopposed in the primary election.

COUNTY TRUSTEE – Bill Hullander (R) is unopposed in the primary and in the general election.

JUVENILE COURT JUDGE – Rob Philyaw (R) and Yolanda Echols Mitchell (D) are both unopposed in the primary election.

SHERIFF – Incumbent Jim Hammond (R) will easily defeat Chris Harvey (R) in the primary and is unopposed in the general election.

CIRCUIT COURT CLERK – Larry Henry (R) has a wide edge over Ron Parson (R) and Lisa Zarzour Bowman (R) in the primary election and is unopposed in the general election.

CRIMINAL COURT CLERK – Gwen Tidwell (D) has a wide edge over Brian D. White (D) in the primary and will face Vince Dean (R) in the general election.

JUVENILE COURT CLERK – Gary D. Behler (R) is unopposed in the primary and in the general election.

COUNTY CLERK – W.F. ‘Bill’ Knowles (R) is unopposed in the primary and in the general election.

REGISTER OF DEEDS – Pam Hurst (R) has a wide edge over Ryan Epperson (R) in the primary and is unopposed in the general election.

CITY OF CHATTANOOGA

CITY COURT JUDGE, Div. 1 – Sherry Paty is unopposed in the primary and in the general election.

CITY COURT JUDGE, Div. 2 – Russell Bean is unopposed in the primary and in the general election.

royexum@aol.com



Thank You, Jacqui Helbert

If we ever needed an example of why NPR should be stripped of federal funding it is the recent dust-up about the firing of the so-called journalist Jacqui Helbert by WUTC.  Can someone tell me why my tax money should be used to fund a left wing operation with the likes of Bill Moyers, Nina Totenberg and Garrison Keillor nationally and this little Woodward and Bernstein wannabe ... (click for more)

Chris Anderson Has Done Plenty For Alton Park

Three years ago today, I was canvassing in Alton Park. President Obama called for a day of action to help educate people about the Affordable Care Act and Chris Anderson responded by mobilizing his campaign volunteers to spread the word in the places in his district that needed it most.   I moved here a little over three years ago and the entire time I've worked with Chris ... (click for more)

Boyd Says $4.1 Million In County Budget Cuts Would Yield $43.1 Million For School Projects; Proposes That CSLA Move To Dalewood

County Commission Finance Chairman Tim Boyd on Wednesday recommended $4.1 million in county budget cuts, which he said would provide bond funds for $43,150,000 in county school projects. He recommended that $250,000 of the money from the cuts go to relocating Chattanooga School for the Liberal Arts (CSLA) to Dalewood Middle School. He said Dalewood students could move to a portion ... (click for more)

Police Shoot And Kill Sheriff's Office Employee, Daniel Hendrix After Disorder At Brainerd Home; 2 Off-Duty City Officers Were At Scene Of Altercation Where Shot Was Fired

Chattanooga Police responded to an altercation at a house in Brainerd early Wednesday morning and wound up shooting and killing an armed man, who is an employee of the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office. Police said two off-duty Chattanooga Police officers were at the scene of the disorder in the 300 block of Shawnee Trail. A shot was fired before officers arrived at 1:26 a.m. ... (click for more)

Lindsey Leads Unbeaten Baylor Past Marion County

There are quite a few new names and faces in the lineup for Baylor’s softball team this spring, but the Lady Red Raiders are the two-time Division II state champs, so it’s more a case of reloading than rebuilding. It’s still early in the season and there’s a lot of key games coming up, but the Lady Raiders are clicking on all cylinders at this point and are now 8-0 following ... (click for more)

UTC Athletics Begins Search For New Men's Basketball Coach

The Chattanooga Mocs begin their search for the 20th head coach in the program’s proud history. The previous 19 combined for 1,281 wins, 16 NCAA Tournament appearances (11 as a DI program), one NCAA DI Sweet 16, 11 Southern Conference Regular Season titles, 11 SoCon Tourney crowns and the 1977 NCAA DII Championship.   Coach Matt McCall departs for UMass after two strong ... (click for more)