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And they're off: Williamson County campaign season starts today

Today at noon Williamson County Republican Primary voters will have a clear picture of who will be asking for their vote in the upcoming May 6 contest for party nominee.
Meanwhile, Independent candidates seeking the same elected offices also have until noon to file papers to run in the Aug. 7 General Election.
There are several contested races, especially for county commission seats, but many office holders are seeking re-election with no apparent opposition.
At press time, there had been no opposing petitions filed for several local offices, including all four Circuit Court Judge positions, as well as County Mayor and Sheriff. 
Earlier this week, former Davidson County Sheriff Hank Hillin picked up qualifying papers for three different countywide offices—Circuit Court Clerk, Register of Deeds, Trustee and County Clerk. 
Prior to Tuesday, all four races were uncontested. Hillin must choose one office and turn in a qualifying petition with 25 signatures in order to be on the May 6 ballot, according to Election Administrator Ann Beard.
Ready, set, go
Residents can expect the next several weeks leading up to the primary to be spirited.
Candidates are not waiting until the qualifying deadline to launch campaigns. In some races, fundraising began late last year.  
Political yard signs are showing up throughout the county and motorists are already sporting candidate bumper stickers, truck bed signs and magnet signs. 
The political message distribution engine is in full swing with push cards and direct mail solicitations already in circulation.
 The Williamson Herald and WAKM AM-950 will be collaborating on several live broadcast interviews for contested races, beginning with the Republican Primary candidates throughout March, before moving to the General Election races this summer.
In addition, the Herald will publish candidate profiles throughout March and early April to introduce candidates to residents.
“This is one of the few times in our county when so many public offices are on the ballot—judicial, countywide offices, as well as county commissioners from every voting district,” said Publisher Derby Jones.
“An election on this scale only happens once every eight years, so the Herald and WAKM want to give our readers and listeners insight into who
 is seeking these offices in order to help you make a choice at the polls.”
Tom Lawrence, co-owner of local radio station AM 950, has been following county elections since the 1960s. His knowledge of local politics and county voting trends is unparalleled in the region.
“This should be a very interesting campaign year, especially given so much early interest in the Republican Primary, but because of the growing interest of Independent candidates, I don’t doubt that residents may see some surprises with the August General Election.”
Early voting for the May 6 primary begins April 16 and will continue thru May 1.
The chosen Republican nominees will then face Independent candidates in August.
Primary ballot rundown
Here is a look at the contested races where candidates have completed their qualifying petitions by close of business Wednesday, Feb. 19.
In countywide races, the position of Trustee has attracted at least four candidates for the Republican Party nominee. 
In courthouse races, only three of nine positions have competition thus far. These are 21st Judicial District Public Defender and General Sessions Judge, Division I and General Sessions Judge, Division II.
In Williamson County Commissioner races, challengers have come forward in nine of the 12 commission districts, representing areas from Brentwood to Grassland Fairview, west Franklin, east Franklin/Cool Springs and Spring Hill. 
Republican Primary candidates who have filed papers by Feb. 19: 
District 1 – Dwight “Bubba” Jones, Ricky D. Jones, Toney R. Sutton
District 2 – Karen Entz, Judy Lynch Herbert, Betsy Hester, Rick Watson
District 3 – Matt Milligan
District 4 – Kathy Danner, Gregg Lawrence
District 5 – Lewis W. Green Jr., Thomas W. (Tommy) Little, 
District 6 – Jeff Ford, Cyndi Miller, Paul Webb
District 7 – Tom Bain, Bert Chalfant, Hugh Dupree
District 8 – Gregory H. Davis, Barb Sturgeon, Jack Walton, 
District 9 - Sherri Clark, Todd Kaestner, Michael Myers
District 10 – Bob Barnwell, Travis Hawkins, Matt Williams
District 11 – Brandon D. Ryan, 
District 12 – Dana Ausbrooks, Kahn Garrett, Steve Smith
Several Independent candidates have filed petitions for county commission.
These county commission candidates will face the Republican nominee and had filed their papers by close of business Wednesday, Feb. 19:
District 2 – Victoria L. Jackson
District 3 – Eliot M. Mitchell
District 5 – B. Karen Emerson- McPeak
District 10 – Brian Johnson
District 11 - Brian Beathard, Lisa Ann Jagod
The only countywide office with a contested race at press time was the County Trustee post. Incumbent Joey Davis announced recently he would not seek re-election, leaving the seat open to three candidates. These are Kellye King,  Karen Paris and Jerry Rainey. 
Two judicial positions are contested: 
General Sessions, Division I – Denise Andre, Deana Hood
General Sessions, Division II (open seat vacated by retired Judge Al Nations) – Tom Taylor, Steve Westbrooks
21st Judicial District Public 
Defender – Vanessa Pettigrew Bryan, Shane K. McNeill
21st Judicial District Attorney Kim Helper had no opposition 
at press time.
There are numerous uncontested races on the ballot. Save a late-filed qualifying petition or a future write-in campaign launched by voters, the following individuals will be returned to office for a  four-year term:
County Mayor Rogers Anderson, Sheriff Jeff Long, County Clerk Elaine Anderson, Circuit/General Sessions Court Clerk Debbie McMillan Barrett, Juvenile Judge Sharon Guffee, Juvenile Court Clerk Brenda Hyden and County Register of Deeds Sadie Wade.
Also, the following judicial seats were still uncontested at close of business Wednesday, Feb. 19: 
Circuit Court, Division 1 – Woody Woodruff (open seat – Judge Robbie Beal did not seek re-election)
Circuit Court, Division 2 – James G. Martin, III
Circuit Court, Division 3 – Mike Binkley
Circuit Court, Division 4 – Timothy Easter
To identify your voting district click here to see a list of precincts and map.

Posted on: 2/20/2014


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