The morning after

The numbers changed but results are the same

Photo with no caption
By Lance Coleman
Senior reporter

The results didn’t change.

Blount County residents went to bed without knowing final vote totals Tuesday night because of a malfunctioning scanner that delayed counting 1,050 paper absentee ballots. The scanner was repaired during the night and election personnel announced a final vote Wednesday morning at 8:30 a.m.

While the number of votes for candidates in races and referendums changed, the winners in each race and the outcome of the initiatives held as they were late Tuesday night.

Tommy Hunt, Andy White and Ron Ivens remained the lead vote-getters in the Maryville City Council election. In Louisville, incumbent Bob Gormley and newcomer Rob Tingle took the top two spots. Vote totals from Tuesday night that showed Alcoa voters passing a liquor package store referendum were upheld after paper ballots were counted, and the Tuesday vote in Townsend by residents squashing a move to allow liquor-by-the-drink held as well.

At 8:30 a.m. Wednesday morning, with all precincts reporting and including early voting totals, the numbers for Blount County were:

In the race for Maryville City Council, where the top three will be elected:
Grant Cash -- 1,470
Tommy Hunt -- 4,620
Ron Ivens -- 3,727
Fred Metz -- 2,663
Darrell Tipton -- 3,352
Andy White -- 4,004

On the Alcoa referendum to allow package stores:
For -- 1,395
Against - 1,015

In Townsend, For sale of alcohol by the drink:
Yes - 87
No -- 96

In the Louisville mayor’s election:
Geraldine Anderson -- 511
Lynn Robert -- 435

In the Louisville election for alderman, where the top two vote getters will be elected:
Bob Gormley -- 482
Bill Marcus -- 430
Mark Thurston -- 390
Rob Tingle -- 439

In Blount County, the race for U.S. Senate:
Bob Corker - 22,034
Ford -- 13,366

For Governor;
Bredesen -- 23,425
Bryson -- 11,781

U.S. House of Representatives
John Greene: 7,139
John J. Duncan Jr. 27,894

Constitutional amendment defining marriage:
Yes: 27,731
No: 6,920

Constitutional amendment for property tax relief for seniors
Yes: 27,211
No: 5,906

Uncontested races in the State House of Representatives for the 20th and the eighth districts meant Rep. Doug Overbey and Rep. Joe McCord, respectively won their seats. City of Alcoa commissioners Clint Abbott, Vaughn D. Belcher and Don Mull were unchallenged, as were Alcoa City School Board members Harry B. "Mickey" McClurg and Julie Bramblett Rochelle.

City of Maryville School Board members Denny Garner, Carolyn Frost McAmis and newcomer Christi H. Sayles were unchallenged for the three seats on the board.

Alcoa City Manager Mark Johnson said Tuesday night that it was too early to discuss the process for the package store because the city hadn’t yet started work on a proposed ordinance or how it would apply.

"We’ll get to work on this tomorrow," he said. "Starting off, we’ll probably recommend two (package stores be allowed in the city)," he said. "We’ll go through the same processes as what other cities have done. We’ll be looking at other cities procedures and fine tuning them as appropriate for Alcoa."

In the Maryville city council race, Tommy Hunt took the most votes, followed by Andy White and incumbent Ron Ivens. Candidates Darrell Tipton, Fred Metz and Grant Cash came up short in their bids for election.

Tommy Hunt thanked everyone for their votes and support in his campaign. "I look forward to working with all the citizens to improve and grow the city," he said.

Hunt thanked his wife Carol especially for all her hard work and the help of his daughters. "They’re excited. They had fun in the campaign. They were a lot of help," he said of his family.

Hunt said his wife was a big benefit to him in the campaign in part because she knows so many people through her job as a teacher at Maryville High School. "A lot of people who might not necessarily know me know her and know our values," he said.

Hunt also thanked his campaign committee, and said he learned several things during the campaign.

"The campaign was hard work, but fun," Hunt said. "I guess the main thing I was impressed with was the overall support of the (Maryville) school system -- from not just parents, but older citizens as well."

Hunt said one of the first orders of business will be simply learning the operations of the council itself and then finding the funding for all the needs for the city. "I look forward to a positive four years and getting to work with city managers and staff and all the citizens."

Andy White was thankful to his supporters who gave him victory in his first political campaign. "My first thought is, I’m obviously very happy to have won. A lot of hard work when into this campaign," he said.

White said he was pleased that Tommy Hunt and Ron Ivens had won, and he said he looks forward to working with them, as well as current councilmen Tommy Taylor and Joe Swann.

"It still hasn’t sunk in," he said of the victory. "It’s very gratifying. I put a lot of hard work in; it’s something I wanted to do."
White thanked his supporters, most of all his wife Kahren. "In all seriousness, to do what I did took a lot of time away from my family. She encouraged me to do it," he said. "If she hadn’t, it would have been difficult."

Ron Ivens said the worst thing about the election was seeing his good friends Steve West and Don Boring leave the council after they decided not to run for re-election. "These people are really outstanding people. I’m going to miss those guys," he said. "We worked well together, and we worked for the benefit of the citizens."

Ivens took time to praise incoming councilman Tommy Hunt for running an outstanding campaign. "I have a lot of respect for Tommy. Tommy is a good business man. I look forward to working with Tommy," he said. "I appreciate the people who voted for me. They know I do represent the people. I will not cater to special groups."

Ivens reiterated his admiration for the councilmen leaving office. "I’m telling you the two guys we’re losing off council; I’m going to miss those guys. After working with them four years, you get to know them. They’re outstanding people."

Darrell Tipton said he appreciated the opportunity to run.

"I really appreciate all the people who supported me and helped with the campaign," he said.

"There a lot of good candidates and sometimes things don’t come out exactly the way you like for them to," Tipton said.

Fred Metz said he felt good about the campaign. "I had a lot of people really supporting me and encouraged me. I was really humbled at the kind of support I had -- obviously not enough, but the people who supported me were very passionate. I was very humbled," he said.

Metz said the campaign was an interesting experience and that it was too early to say whether he would try to run again for council.

"I’m still trying to catch my breath. It has been pretty exhausting campaigning with six people and three slots like that, but never say never," he said.

Metz passed on his best wishes to the council and the winners of the race. "I’m still chairman of the (Maryville) planning commission, so I’ll be looking forward to working with council on growth issues, planning issues and annexation issue. I’ll still be involved," Metz said.

Grant Cash said he was a little disappointed, but he felt he did well in the race.

"I’m telling you the city of Maryville is not going to be hurting," he said. "We’ll be just fine, and we’ll get them again next time. I’ve got my name out there this time. It was my first go around."

Louisville contest
Geraldine Anderson said she was thankful to win another term as mayor and was appreciative of her supporters. "I praise the Lord for all the good gifts that come from the Lord and all the prayer warriors who prayed for me who gave me strength and courage, and I thank all the people who worked so hard," she said Wednesday morning. "I thank all the good friends I’ve had. I’m looking forward to working with the people to start work on the new town hall."

Lynn Roberts said the campaign was a real learning experience for him and his family. In a faxed statement, he said, "What I have learned is that people care about Louisville and they are concerned about their government. I want to thank every person in Louisville who went to the polls and voted. This is what democracy is all about. I also want to thank the voters for their kindness, their support and their concern for our town."

Roberts said he was gratified throughout the entire process and congratulated Anderson. "I believe that it has been good for our community," he said.

Rob Tingle and Bill Marcus could not be reached for comment. Bob Gormley said he felt the election was a great election and a long, hard race.

"It got heated. It certainly did," Gormley said. "I was real happy to see almost all the registered voters came out (in Louisville). The voters have spoken. We look forward to doing great things for this town."

Mark Thurston characterized the contest as a great race and a fair race.

"I enjoyed it. I thank all the voters for coming to the polls. I have nothing bad to say. I gave it my all and then some," he said.

Thurston said he was at the polls from 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. on election day. "I greeted the very first voter and was there when the very last one left," he said. "I greeted every single person in the pouring down rain. That made me feel I gave my all."

Thurston said he would run for election again. "The race was close enough for me to rerun," he said. "It was close enough to make me feel they wanted a change."

Elections administrator Becky Harrell said Tuesday that it didn’t appear the inclement weather kept people away from the polls as more people voted in this mid-term election than in the last mid-term contest four years ago. The crowd at the polls rivaled a presidential election year vote, she said.

"We’ve been extremely busy for a non-presidential year," she said Tuesday. "We’re real happy. I don’t know if it’s the amendments or the senate race or in Alcoa we’ve got a liquor referendum as well as in Townsend."

Harrell said election day is usually a long, 16-hour day. This will be the last long election day Harrell will work as administrator. After 22 years with the office and 21 years as administrator, she’ll retire in two weeks. Libby Breeding of Blount County will replace her.

"I’ve been so busy, I’ve haven’t had time to think about it, but election night is exciting," she said.

Breeding has been with the office since early voting began about a month ago. The Blount County-native’s father, Harold "Snag" Hayes, was an election commissioner for several years, so she often would work elections. She worked at the Tennessee Valley Authority for several years and took a break to raise two sons. She then became a teacher and taught sixth graders at William Blount Middle School for several years.

The 54-year-old and her husband Pat have two sons, Zach and Matt Breeding.

As for Harrell, she took a minute to think about life in retirement. "I don’t know what I’ll do with myself," she said with a
laugh. "It’s going to be different."

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