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Republican primary field set

The Unicoi County Election Commission met Monday morning to qualify candidates for the May 6 Republican Primary. Feb. 20 was the deadline to submit petitions to the Election Commission for the primary and Aug. 7 general election.
The five members of the Election Commission – Tom Reeves, Paul Monk, Roland Bailey, Marvin Rogers and Bill Beckman – reviewed candidate petitions and verified voter signatures with Administrator of Elections Sarah Bailey.
Qualifying as candidates for county mayor in the primary were Greg Lynch, the current mayor, and John Day. Larry Rose qualified as a candidate for county mayor in the August general election.
There will be three candidates for the office of sheriff on the May primary ballot – Mike Hensley, the current sheriff, Tony Buchanan and James Lengel.
Don Whitson also took out a petition to seek the office of sheriff in the primary; however, according to a letter sent from the Peace Officer Standards and Training Commission to the Election Commission, Whitson did not have sufficient experience to qualify as a candidate for sheriff.
“… Sheriff candidates must have, within the last 10 years, three years of full-time experience as a POST Commission certified law enforcement officer or the law enforcement experience as a state or federal law enforcement office with training equivalent to that required by the POST Commission,” the letter states. “(Whitson’s) records indicate that he does not have the requisite law enforcement experience within the time frame required by state law.”
According to the Election Commission, Hensley, Buchanan and Lengel met required POST standards.
Mitzi Bowen, the current county clerk, and Patty Treadway both qualified to appear on the May primary ballot for the office of Unicoi County Clerk.
Trustee Paul Berry, Circuit Court Clerk Darren Shelton, Register of Deeds Debbie Tittle, Road Superintendent Terry Haynes and General Sessions Judge David R. Shults all qualified to seek re-election to their respective offices in the May primary. All of these officeholders are unopposed.
Joey Bailey, Marie Shelton Rice, Loren Thomas, Stacy Wigand and Gene Wilson all qualified as candidates in the primary from the 1st District for three seats on the Unicoi County Commission. Rice, Thomas and Wigand currently hold these seats on the panel.
Qualifying to be on the primary ballot to represent the 2nd District on the Commission were Brian D. Delp, Kenneth E. Garland, Jason Harris, Bill Hensley, Glenn White and Donald “Stephen” Wilson. Democratic candidates Rob Martin and Richard A. “Rick” Smith qualified as candidates to seek election to 2nd District seats on the Commission in the August general election. Garland, Hensley and Sue Jean Wilson currently hold the 2nd District seats on the Commission.
Kenneth S. Calain, Walter J. Garland, James A. McLellan, John W. Mosley and Bridget Peters qualified to be candidates for the three 3rd District seats on the Commission. Dr. James “Mickey” Hatcher, James Howell and Dwight Bennett currently hold these seats on the panel.
Howard L. Riddle (1st District), Gary Wayne Edwards (2nd District) and Timmy S. Lewis (3rd District) all qualified to be candidates in the May primary for the office of constable from their respective districts.
Qualifying as candidates in the Republican Judicial Primary, which will also take place on May 6, were: Thomas J. Seeley, Jr. for Circuit Court Judge – Part 1; Jean A. Stanley for Circuit Court Judge – Part 2; John C. Rambo for Chancellor; Dennis Brooks and Lisa Nidiffer for Criminal Court Judge – Part 1; Stacy L. Street for Criminal Court Judge – Part 2; Tony Clark and Jerome Cochran for District Attorney General; and Jeff Kelly for Public Defender.
Dan Smith also qualified to run for District Attorney General in the August primary against the winner of the Republican primary.
The last day to register to vote for the May primary is April 7. Early voting for the May primary is scheduled to begin on April 16.
The state and federal primary, judicial general and county general elections will be held on Aug. 7. The state and federal general elections, as well as the town of Erwin and town of Unicoi elections will be held on Nov. 4.