Voters across Grundy and Marion counties in Tennessee picked leadership in municipal elections for mayor and for seats on commissions and boards of aldermen featured on Tuesday ballots.
One of the hottest contests was between an incumbent and former mayor in Monteagle, which straddles the Marion-Grundy county line, while voters in the larger Marion County towns of Jasper and South Pittsburg picked new mayors, and voters in Grundy's Altamont picked aldermen.
But late Tuesday night, Grundy County Administrator of Election Donna Basham said technical problems with the voting machines forced officials to start hand-entering results from each precinct. Final results wouldn't be available until sometime this morning or later, she said.
Basham said Grundy officials hoped to borrow similar equipment from Warren County, but the same problem arose there, too.
"There's no telling when we'll be finished," an exhausted Basham said just before 11 p.m. EDT.
In the Marion County seat of Jasper, Paul Wayne Evans defeated Chip Wampler in the race to fill the seat left open by retiring former Mayor Billy Simpson, while two Board of Alderman seats were filled in a five-way race by top vote-getters Steven Looney and Paul West.
In another mayoral race for a seat left open by its incumbent, Jane W. Dawkins beat Robert L. "Buddy" Woods for mayor of South Pittsburg. The seat was left open by former mayor Mike Killian, who did not seek re-election.
In the City Commission District 1 race, Jimmy L. Wigfall defeated Hilda (Scales) Aker and Gary Reynolds for that slot. And in District 2, Jeff Powers tallied more votes than Gene King and Bobby R. Vinson for that seat.
In the race for Kimball mayor, incumbent David Jackson defeated challenger Johnny Sisk. The candidates in Board of Aldermen race, Jerry Don Case and Rex Pesnell, were uncontested.
SALES TAX AND LIQUOR
Sequatchie County voters nixed a proposed sales tax increase from 2.25 percent to 2.75 percent on a referendum question on Tuesday's ballot in very close balloting.
Just up the road, Pikeville voters in Bledsoe County favored liquor by the drink and package sales inside the city limits. The alcohol questions were narrowly defeated the last time they were on the ballot in 2010.
In Marion County, incumbent Mark Myers won the race for New Hope Mayor over Jerry Crosslin, while John L. Blevins and Jerry Quinton Choate garnered the majority of votes over the third contender, James Easterly, in the race for two seats on the New Hope Board of Aldermen.
In the race for three seats on the Whitwell City Commission, Steve Atterton, Cindy Holland Easterly and Harry M. Holland netted more votes than Jean Rountree in a four-way race.
No candidates qualified to seek one of two open seats in Orme and another in Powells Crossroads, records show.
Results in the contests throughout Grundy County, including the town of Monteagle where elections were managed by Grundy County even though the town is split between Marion and Grundy, were unavailable at press time. Following are the contenders who were on the ballot.
In Monteagle's mayoral contest, incumbent Marilyn Campbell Nixon faced former mayor Charles Rollins. Nixon had defeated Rollins in 2010 when he was the incumbent. There was also a nine-way race for four seats on the town Board of Aldermen between Anthony Eugene Jones, Russell L. Leonard, Harry Parmley, Raymond A. Releford, JoDean Wade, John Knost, Alexander "Lexie" Orr, Alvin Powell Jr. and Richard Sampley.
Contact staff writer Ben Benton at bbenton@times freepress.com or 423-757-6569.
Ben Benton is a news reporter at the Chattanooga Times Free Press. He covers Southeast Tennessee and previously covered North Georgia education. Ben has worked at the Times Free Press since November 2005, first covering Bledsoe and Sequatchie counties and later adding Marion, Grundy and other counties in the northern and western edges of the region to his coverage. He was born and raised in Cleveland, Tenn., a graduate of Bradley Central High School. Benton ...