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Election notes: Heat still on for some

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By The Staff

By DAMON LAWRENCE

dlawrence@roanecounty.com

Officials who were not re-elected on Thursday could still have some important business to tend to.

The county has yet to pass a budget for the 2010-11 fiscal year. The budget could come up for a vote before the current county executive and commission terms expire on Aug. 31.

Commissioners will hold their regular August meeting today — Monday — at 7 p.m. at the Roane County Courthouse in Kingston. The tentative agenda includes resolutions to fix the tax levy and make appropriations for the fiscal year.

Commissioner Bobby Collier, a member of the budget committee, said officials are not yet in a position to vote on those resolutions.  

“All that has to be postponed,” he said.

The tentative agenda includes an item under special orders to recognize outgoing elected officials.

* * *

The Roane County Election Commission plans to certify the election results during a public meeting on Aug. 16.

The meeting is scheduled to start at 9 a.m. It will be held at the courthouse.

The meeting agenda also said the election commission will review Thursday’s election and make recommendations.

* * *

The absentee and early voting totals were good indicators.

For example, when the election commission office released those results, Ron Woody had 49.76 percent of the vote, compared to 44.45 percent for Mike Farmer in the race for county executive.

When the final results were released, Woody had a 49.16 advantage compared to Farmer’s 44.14 percent.      

Circuit Court Clerk winner Kim Nelson had 53.01 percent of the vote when the absentee and early totals were released.

Nelson finished with 53.58 percent of the vote.

* * *

Nelson was elected to the Roane County Board of Education in 2008.

She still has two years to go on a four-year term, but officials don’t think she’ll be able to finish it now that she’s been elected circuit court clerk.  

“We’re going to have to replace her,” Collier said. “According to the way I read the law, you can’t hold both of those jobs. It’s a matter of when now.”

Longtime school board member Everett Massengill said he doesn’t think Nelson will be able to serve both positions simultaneously, either.  

Earlier this year, Nelson said she wanted to finish her term on the school board.

She said she planned to check with Tennessee Attorney Gene-

ral Robert Cooper Jr. on the is-

sue.

Cooper has not issued any formal opinions on the issue, attorney general spokeswoman Sharon Curtis-Flair said Friday. Curtis-Flair said she didn’t know if an opinion would be forthcoming, either.

Should Nelson step down from the school board, the commission will be responsible for picking her replacement.

* * *

Few votes separated winners from losers in the race for the three commission seats in District 2.

The winners were Randy Ellis (717 votes), Jerry Goddard (667) and George Nelson (662).

Incumbent James Harmon finished just six votes behind Nelson. David Currier, the third incumbent, finished 15 votes behind Nelson.

* * *

Ellis has been one of TVA’s most vocal critics since the fly ash catastrophe that occurred in late 2008 at the Kingston Fossil Plant.

Ellis said he will continue to challenge the agency as a member of the commission.

District 2 includes Swan Pond, which was heavily impacted by the disaster.   

“We need to sit down and talk to that community and say we know you’ve been impacted and you continue to be physically impacted today more than anybody else, what do you need in your community?” Ellis said.     

* * *

Newly elected District 6 commissioner Nick Forrester is 25 years old. He will be the youngest person on the commission when he takes office Sept. 1.

“I don’t think my youth is a crutch,” he said. “I’m fairly fresh out of college. I’ve got a lot of knowledge and I feel like I can do a good job.”

Forrester said one thing he plans to focus on is spending.

“I think people want the belts tightened,” he said.

* * *

Longtime Democrat state Rep. Dennis Ferguson will face Republican Julia Hurley in the race to represent District 32 in the Tennessee House of Representatives.

The district includes Roane County and Lenoir City.

Hurley defeated Jason Bagnell in the Republican primary on Thursday. Ferguson defeated James Tapp in the Democrat primary.

Voters in the Republican primary also chose Scott DesJarlais to challenge Democrat Lincoln Davis for his 4th Congressional District seat.

DesJarlais beat out four other Republicans.

Davis was unopposed in the Democrat primary.   

* * *

A Republican win for governor and good things for Roane County. State Sen. Ken Yager is predicting those things in the future.

“I am optimistic about Roane County,” Yager said. “Always have been.”

Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam won the Republican nomination for governor.

Haslam will face  Democrat Mike McWherter in the race for governor.

“We’re going to have a Republican governor in November, and I’m going to be pleased to support that person,” Yager predicted.

Yager, a Republican, served as Roane County executive/mayor for many, many years before stepping down in 2006.

He stopped by the courthouse Thursday night as the numbers came in.

“If I seem a little relaxed, it’s because I can go home now,” he said. “Everybody else is staying here counting the votes.”

• • •

Damon Lawrence is a Roane County News reporter. He may be reached at 376-3481, Ext. 314, or dlawrence@roanecounty.com.