County voters face long ballot Thursday

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Marshall County voters face a long ballot at the polls 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday.

Beyond crowded county races for sheriff and mayor, there are political primaries for state and federal positions.

While county elections are non-partisan, voters will be asked if they want to vote in the Republican or Democratic parties' primaries. That's not required.

Top GOP candidates in the governor's primary are Bill Haslam, Ron Ramsey and Zach Wamp. Mike McWherter is unopposed in the Democratic primary for governor. He will face one of the three Republicans in November.

Meanwhile, two military veterans, Ben Leming and Brett Carter, are running for the Democratic nomination to run for the seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Bart Gordon. Republicans competing for the GOP nomination to run for Congress include Diane Black, Lou Ann Zelenik and Jim Tracy.

Long-time Marshall County Sheriff Les Helton has decided against running for re-election and five lawmen have qualified to have their names on the ballot. They are Norman Dalton, Roger Fagan, Jackie King, David Ray and Woody Woodward.

The crowded race raises a question of whether the winner will have a majority.

In the race for county mayor, incumbent Joe Boyd Liggett is seeking his second term and is being challenged by local businessman Mike Spence and County Commissioner Scottie Poarch.

Winners in the county races will take office on Sept. 1.

Also running countywide are candidates for two clerks' positions.

Keith Hollingsworth is again challenging Circuit Court Clerk Elinor Brandon Foster, and Nancy Freeman is challenging County Clerk Daphne Fagan.

Two school board seats are up for a vote Thursday, but only one is on the ballot. Donnie Moses is challenging Craig Michael. There's a race between incumbent Kristen Gold and former County Commissioner R.L. Williams. Both are running write-in campaigns. Meanwhile, Barbara Kennedy, Harvey Jones Jr. and Mike Keny are unopposed in their bids for election in their districts.

All 18 seats on the county commission are on the ballot. Two are elected from each of the nine districts where candidates with a plurality win. In other words, in a three-way race the top two vote getters win.

Six of 18 commissioners are not running for re-election. They are Richard Medley, Larry McKnight, Mary Ann Neill, Scottie Poarch, Billy Spivey, and Jimmy Stitt. Medley and McKnight represent the 9th District where residents are guaranteed to have new representation on the commission.

No commission seat is without competition. The level of competition ranges from three candidates campaigning for two seats to five candidates seeking two seats.

Complete ballots are posted at the polls. The Tribune published three pages of ballots in Friday's edition.