Overbey wins with strong showing in Sevier; Finney asking for recount

Doug Overbey gets a congratulatory hug from his wife, Kay, at their home Thursday night. With unofficial results in, Overbey unseated incumbent State Senator Raymond Finney by 139 votes.

Photo by Leslie Karnowski

Doug Overbey gets a congratulatory hug from his wife, Kay, at their home Thursday night. With unofficial results in, Overbey unseated incumbent State Senator Raymond Finney by 139 votes.

Sen. Raymond Finney talks with Houston Murphy and Peggy Lambert as vote totals come in on Thursday night.

Photo by Leslie Karnowski

Sen. Raymond Finney talks with Houston Murphy and Peggy Lambert as vote totals come in on Thursday night.

Division IV General Sessions Judge David Duggan celebrates as vote totals come in. Duggan beat incumbent Circuit Court Division II Judge Mike Meares in Thursday's election.

Photo by Jolanda Jansman

Division IV General Sessions Judge David Duggan celebrates as vote totals come in. Duggan beat incumbent Circuit Court Division II Judge Mike Meares in Thursday's election.

Homer Roberts, a life-long friend of Judge Mike Meares, talks with the judge as results come in on Thursday night. General Sessions Judge David Duggan beat Meares for the judgeship of Circuit Court Division II.

Photo by Leslie Karnowski

Homer Roberts, a life-long friend of Judge Mike Meares, talks with the judge as results come in on Thursday night. General Sessions Judge David Duggan beat Meares for the judgeship of Circuit Court Division II.

State Sen. Raymond Finney is refusing to concede to challenger Doug Overbey after results show the incumbent losing to the State Representative in the District 8 Senate race.

Results show Overbey beating Finney, a one-term senator, 10,175 to 10,036. While Finney led Overbey 6,918 to 5,722 in Blount County, Overbey won in Sevier County, 4,453 to Finney's 3,118.

Thursday night, just past 10 p.m., Finney said he did not consider the election to be over.

“We’ll be weighing our options," Finney said. "We want a recount. We do not consider the election over. I’m not conceding.”

Republican party chair and Assistant County Mayor Dave Bennett said he was unsure of the process for a recount.

“I think since it is so close, the state will probably officially document what the votes were,” Bennett said. “I don’t know what the process is for a recount. I think when it is within 140 votes and covers two counties, the counties will be asked to make sure the count is right.”

Overbey said he wasn’t surprised by the senator’s comments.

“We’re comfortable with the results that were reported. It was kind par for the course on this campaign.

“I am honored and humbled by Sevier and Blount County made the decision to for a new start, a new opportunity,” Overbey said.

Overbey said his campaign saw the momentum continued to build this summer. “We saw more and more people come out to help,” he said.

Overbey praised his supporters and thanked his friends for going door-to-door and offering moral support. He also thanked his wife, Kay, “for pouring her full heart and soul” into his campaign.

Overbey said he is going to stay concerned with “improving school systems. Making sure our kids have jobs. Keeping the heating and cooling of our homes and the fuel cost in our cars as low as possible.”

As party chair, Bennett said he would reach out to both sides and try to bring healing.

“Obviously, there are winners and losers in a primary," Bennett said. "I’ll reach out to both candidates and try to facilitate the healing process. There are going to be hurt feelings on the losers’ side, and some people are going to be upset. I see my job as chair of the party is to provide the salve to heal those wounds,” he said.

Judge's race

In the general election Circuit Court Division II race between Democrat incumbent Judge Mike Meares and challenger, General Sessions Judge David Duggan, Duggan won by a margin of 9,582 to 6,451.

Meares encouraged his supporters minutes after he learned he lost. “Cheer up, let’s party. We’ve made a lot of good friends in the process,” he said. “Today was easy, the hard part is over. The low voter turn out was not to my benefit.”

Meares said he was proud of his supporters and hoped they would “focus on tomorrow and keep looking toward the future.”

After Duggan learned he won, he talked about the campaign and said he learned he enjoyed going door to door speaking with voters. He said that on the day before the election, he was in South Blount County and canvassing those neighborhoods brought back good memories from earlier times, especially Burch Street. “I spent many hours over there. I paused and took time and remember the past,” he said.

Duggan thanked his friends and supporters. “I could not have done everything without them here.”

The race had been marked by controversy as Meares challenged the Republican establishment and his counterpart, Division I Circuit Court Judge Dale Young. Meares held administrative hearings regarding Local Rules that attorneys followed and said Young had changed them without giving adequate public notice. Following hearings in May, he issued an order invalidating parts of the Local Rules.

Bennett said he wasn’t surprised by the contentiousness of the race. “I hated to see the way the other campaign started slinging mud. I don’t like that and it shows it didn’t work,” he said. “There’s been a lot of negative attention on the Republican Party and Judge Young. People saw through that and sent the right person to that seat. There has been a lot of mud-slinging at Judge Young. He’s a good man and didn’t deserve that.”

Bennett praised Duggan’s work ethic in the campaign. “We’re proud the people stood with us and put the right man in the right job.”

State House of Representatives

In the State House and State Senate Races, Bennett extended his good wishes to Commission Chair Bob Ramsey and State Rep. Doug Overbey. Ramsey won the seat Overbey vacated in his bid to unseat Finney.

“Congratulation to Bob Ramsey on his win to fill the vacancy Doug Overbey left, and congratulations to Doug Overbey on his win in the Senate race,” Bennett said. “I feel fortunate to get to work with both of them in their efforts in Nashville to help us continue to make Blount County the greatest place to live.”

State Supreme Court

In the State Court of Criminal Appeals election, voters gave “Yes” or “No” answers as to whether they wanted to reaffirm justices to the State Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals and the Court of Criminal Appeals. In the Court of Criminal Appeals, Blount County native Judge D. Kelly Thomas, Jr. was reaffirmed in this county with more “Yes” votes and fewer “No” votes than any of the justices – 12,302 to 1,537.

Thomas said he appreciated the support and said this election was like no other he had ever run.

“There was nothing you could do but wait and hope people let you have the rest of your term. It’s not like any other campaign,” he said. “You had to wait and see what happened. Now I get to keep working.”

District 8 State Rep. Joe McCord had no competition in the primary or general election and said that in this climate where incumbents are often challenged, this was a good time to be uncontested.

McCord said he couldn’t take the position for granted. “You’re always in communications with your constituents,” he said.

McCord said he looked forward to working with Ramsey in the State House and thanked the candidates who ran in the District 20 State House race. “That exchange of ideas is good,” he said.

Paper ballots

Shortly before 10 p.m., 26 more ballots were found in Blount County and added to the count. It didn’t change the outcome of any of the races, Elections Administrator Libby Breeding said.

The missing ballots were paper ballots from a precinct, and Breeding said it wasn’t unusual for some voters to choose paper. “You always have some who refuse to use the machine,” she said.

School Board

In the only other contested race in Blount County, unofficial vote totals showed a dozen votes deciding who would represent District 6 on the Blount County School Board.

Brad K. Long edging out Patricia Ann Bell for Blount County School Board, 6th District by 966 votes to 954. Incumbent William "Booty" Miller did not run for re-election.

Unofficial Results

With 52 of 52 precincts reporting in Blount County and all Precincts in Sevier, these are the unofficial results.

COUNTY GENERAL ELECTION

Circuit Court Judge Division II

Mike Meares (Dem): 6,451

David Reed Duggan (Rep): 9,582

STATE REPUBLICAN PRIMARY

Jim Bishop: Total: 977

Raymond Finney: Total: 10,036

(Blount: 6,918; Sevier: 3,118)

Doug Overbey: Total: 10,175

(Blount: 5,722; Sevier: 4,453)

Tennessee House 20th Representative District

Steve Hargis: 1,784

Jim Melton: 1,178

Tona Monroe-Ball: 1,056

Bob Ramsey: 3,170

School Board 6th District

Patricia Ann Bell: 954

Brad K. Long: 966

© 2008 blounttoday.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Comments » 31

Blountgirl writes:

Thanks to the Blount Today for being the first (an only source) for great election results. I appreciate your attentiveness to this important race!

Congrats to the winners on a clean and strong race. It goes to show that the nice guys do win even when they play their cards fair.

Keep up the good work-

yellowdog writes:

Clean race? Played cards fair? What planet were you on?

RightChoice writes:

Blountgirl, You said 'It goes to show that the nice guys do win even when they play their cards fair.'
Excuse me, but Overbey really did not play his cards fair and how can you call someone a nice guy who so boldly distorts the truth. To put it nicely.
The whole smear campaign he waged about the education vote. Did you know that Senator Finney's vote was one of two methods the State of Tennessee had to make in obedience to a COURT ORDER to equalize school funding proportionately to school enrollment across the State.
The first method was to RAISE TAXES STATEWIDE and distribute the money equally to unequally funded Counties.
The second method was to take the existing revenue and distribute it fairly across the State{which included a pay raise for teachers}.
I absolutely believe that Senator Finney needs a re-count on his Sevier County votes. I live in Sevier County and during this whole campaign I didn't talk to one person planning to vote for Overbey. Now, I know he had the Smokies Ball Park and a new development on 66 on his team, as they contributed rather largely to his campaign. Is it a coincidence that they need a favor in Nashville. I think not. He also had the very negatively newsworthy corrupt people with a bit of power in Sevier County in his corner. But the average citizen was for Finney. Finney signs in a whole lot more yards than Overbeys. Things that make you go hmmmmm.

BarneyFife writes:

I fully support Senator Finney's requesting a recount. You see, I sat outside a Sevier County polling location today and asked folks to vote for Senator Finney. Fully 65-70% of the people I talked to told me they did so. Now it may be that most of these fine people lied to me but to what gain? Could the numbers be so different in other districts?(Mine is one of the larger ones.)Definitely "things that make you go hmmmmmmmm."

Paul writes:

I think Bennett has things backwards. I do not consider Duggan's Circuit Court race "clean" just because it was Judge Young and not Duggan himself who was slinging mud FOR Duggan. I thought it was incumbent upon Duggan to correct the misinformation published by Young under auspices of his official duty as judge. Especially given the TBA Code of Ethics he signed.

ProBlount writes:

Judge Duggan's race was clean. Judge Duggan did not sling one ounce of mud, and for that matter, Judge Young did not either. Judge Young's correspondence was written in strict compliance with the Supreme Court Rules and clearly stated that he was not advocating on anyone's behalf. Further, the anonymous flyers and postcards were clearly not supporting Judge Duggan. Just wondering why Meares failed to sign the Code of Ethics.

poormeares writes:

Meares never agreed to or signed the Code of Ethics.

Duggan signed it as soon as it was made available.

Duggan followed it to the letter. Meares is the subject of a Court of Judiciary investigation (and probably will be the subject of another).

Truly, poor meares.

Paul writes:

It really seems like if Duggan followed the Code of Ethics to the letter, he would have corrected Judge Young's misinformation. Furthermore, it seems like Judge Young would have corrected it himself, since he indicated that was his duty to correct such things. Apparently, only when it serves his purpose. And since it is public information that Judge Young contributed a great deal of money to the Duggan Campaign, it is downright silly to think his disclaimer to the contrary was adequate.

AlcoaGuy0157 writes:

Finney supporters continue to make themselves look foolish and show they have zero class. I'm sure that "poll" you took was scientific. Keep talking... because thankfully, Doug Overbey is our new state Senator and we are no longer the laughing stock of Nashville.

Floydthebarber writes:

"Holy underware Batman"! what a contest. Just remenbered that one cause Batman was a competator when we wuz runnig the show in '64. Gilligans Island wuz another good one and the Skipper (Alan Hale) was a good friend. Shoulds like ya'll had more fun last nite than the guy that Finney was talking about in his beasty bill video I saw on You Tube! SOUNDS SICK!!! Lord I appoligeze!! Cuszin Billy got so nervous that he pinched a hole in his underware and his baby goat started nursing from a one of his pit bull named coment.
I wuz revuiewin all of my material sent out over the last month or so and just wanted to let Overbey know that I hope I didnt embarrase him with my grammer with some of my postins. I wuz just trying to get you people thinking about what you were hearing. I have have said it more than once and I will say it again, Ive been told by cuzin Billy that Dr. finney and his dear wife have made a big impact on Blount County in the medical community and thier church. Wish them all the best!! They sound like good people to have in the community but just not representing the 8th district in Nashvegas. You know I heard that the Lambert Lady that Finney was listen too made Finney say things he should have and sounds like Earnest T.
Been told theres two or three tribes of those Lamberts and only ones worth havin over to supper. Y'all know more about that and I dont have a clue and I anit going there. Most folks would agree that after this election the tactics that were used by finney didnt work. Told you all a couple of days ago that Overbey had some of his signs stolen, well that person was cault red handed this morning, yes red handed. cornered in a driveway with signs in hand!! More news on that one.

braintree writes:

"Bennett said he wasn’t surprised by the contentiousness of the race. “I hated to see the way the other campaign started slinging mud."

Just like in the Overbey race, sling mud first then start crying to momma that it was the other guy.

Sleeze bags!

VolGolfer1998 writes:

I was just wondering if RightChoice who so "boldly" talks about Overbey's "lies, lies, lies" (Doug Overbey never once lied - the truth just hurts) saw where the the chairman of the Republican Party in Sevier County completely backed up what the Overbey campaign said all along about the BEP/education vote in the Knoxville News Sentinel today. So please, quit with all the "lies" garbage. You are the ones who are lying it seems.

Plus, everyone I know in Sevier County said that Overbey signs outnumbered Finney's easily by two to one. Are y'all making this stuff up? Ha ha, it's actually quite funny.

StillRightChoice writes:

Hello, RightChoice is right here. I will continue to talk boldly about Overbey's lies,lies,lies. It amazes me when seemingly intelligent people can be blinded by twisted facts. The election results in Sevierville do not surprise me. Remember, this is the town that funded his campaign. Just a total coincidence that every big contributer had an agenda for Nashville. Surprise for you!I live in Sevier County and other than the obnoxious Overbey billboards there definitely was an overwhelming amount of Finney signs in peoples yards.
I would like to have an answer to this question and I hope that volgolfer1998 can give it to me.
Question - Both candidates live in Maryville. So, people in Blount County would be the better judge of each of their individual character traits. However, Finney won in Blount County and not by just a little bit. Why is this?
The people in Seveirville barely knew Overbey. But he bombarded us on a daily basis with his flyers and even sent emails. He painted Finney to responsible for the BEP and high gas prices. This is untrue. None of Overbey's flyers stated THIS fact -
Finney's vote was one of two methods the State of Tennessee had to make in obedience to a COURT ORDER to equalize school funding proportionately to school enrollment across the State.
The first method was to RAISE TAXES STATEWIDE and distribute the money equally to unequally funded Counties.
The second method was to take the existing revenue and distribute it fairly across the State{which included a pay raise for teachers}.

And he didn't tell folks that there was no pending emissions bill. So telling people repeatedly Finney sent your education dollars to Memphis and Finney wants you to pay more for gas. Those were extremely misleading.

Now, I learn that Overbey was meeting with our School superintendent prior to the BEP vote and Sevier County is not even his district. And that Senator Finney was never informed of their meetings and never contacted about the vote they would prefer. Then it turns out the school superintendent is best buddies with Overbey. Almost seems like a planned attack. This was dirty politics all the way. Having three close relatives teaching in Sevier County, I can tell you the schools super sent every employee and every student's parents a letter telling them how he felt they should vote. Please answer the question for me. Why did Blount County favor Finney so strongly? I know why Overbey won in Sevier.

GOP85 writes:

StillRightChoice just wanted to make sure you were aware Finney did lose.

StillRightChoice writes:

GOP85, The losers are the citizens of Blount and Sevier County. And the credit goes to the man with the biggest crock of spin, the smooth talk of a lawyer, and the deepest pockets. Are you from Blount County. Talk to me after the 2009 General Assembly. Repeat question - Please answer the question for me. Why did Blount County favor Finney so strongly? I know why Overbey won in Sevier.

GOP85 writes:

I am from Blount County and live in Briarcliff. What does it matter that he won Blount County. He lost plain and simple? If it is such a crock of spin then how come Mike Dalton, former Blount County School Superintendent, has said repeatedly Doug is the one telling the truth about schools? Finney has even said that the formula was bad and he voted the wrong way. That of course was before he was running for office. To think this is one giant conspiracy against Finney is ludicrous.

StillRightChoice writes:

It does matter that he won Blount county because more people voted for him in Blount. And that is where both men live. They are known in the community. So the votes speak volumes for Finney. As far as the BEP - two choices and only one could be chosen. Overbey would have spun either choice made. I can see it now- Finney voted to raise your taxes!

Floydthebarber writes:

Give it up! I would rather pee on a electric fence than to read all of this stuff. Last time I looked we do live in a demorcracy and Overbey won. What is it that is not clear??

Floydthebarber writes:

Went out on and checked the Tennesee law on Voten recount and here's the exact law:

"Tennessee law authorizes a recount in the case of a tie vote, an indication of voter fraud, voting machine malfunctions or tabulation problems, and "any other instance the court or body with jurisdiction of a contested election finds that a recount is warranted."
Just cause someone tells finney theres something wrong won't get it. Tellen the Sevier County Election folks they did someting wrong is not going make them sing a different song at choir practice either. Sister Salley in Waldens creek has an irratable bowel and she ant happy and her husand Elmer any goin to like it either. She ant been stirred up this way since since her boy started wearing big boy underwear when he was 3 and he threw them down in the two holer and she had to fish them out with her mop she uses ever other month. The Sears catalog still is king on moutain in my outhouse!!

StillRightChoice writes:

Dear Floyd,
I guess something in your top paragraph rang true with the commission. Truly hope that your Sister feels better soon.
With a sheriff being elected after a year of illegal activity in the jail by his employees, suicides and lawsuits. And a mayor being sued. Things aren't looking good for the good ole boys in Sevierville.

VolGolfer1998 writes:

StillRightChoice must like thriller movies because they seem to be a conspiracy theorist. Sevier County knew the truth about education - the way the Republican Chairperson in Sevier County said they did in knoxnews - and Blount County felt less of a pinch. Trust me, when property taxes start having to be increased, it will become a bigger issue. People know both Overbey and Finney here in Blount, and have elected both (Overbey on multiple occassions).

You have lost pretty much all credibility at this point StillRightChoice - we all just read your posts on here to laugh. Overbey won... Finney lost. Let's move on with life shall we?

voteira writes:

I participated in all the debates with Dr Finney and Mr. Overbey so I have several thoughts and a different perspective to add on the issue. Their fight tactics were negative based on less than half truths, and outright distortions.
But more importantly, I need to strongly disagree with the statement that “Doug Overbuy is our next State Senator”. There is a contested election coming in November.
Just because he has more money than me, it is not a done deal. I have more and better ideas on how to solve our problems than he does.
America is a DEMOCRACY and we have elections rather than coronations. Just because once upon a time Doug was in the legislature, he is still obligated to race for this seat rather than assuming automatic victory.
There is no incumbent defending the seat. The 8th District Senate seat is open and vacant. I have been asked if I thought that Overbey would debate me. Who is he to say no? He is not the incumbent and has no lock on the seat. It is an open seat that is being publicly contested.
The assumption of automatic coronation implies that there is no need to hold general elections once the Republican Party ordains the District’s next Senator. It says our democracy does not need to hear from the entire public because one small subsection of the electorate, the Republicans, has made the choice for the rest.

voteira writes:

The other assumption, which is wrong, though commonly made, is that because Blount County has the larger population, the Senator will automatically be from there. This gives those in Blount County little credit as it says that they would just blindly vote on geographic allegiance which underestimates their capacity to be able to choose. It is like saying that because of residence that they would automatically disregard substance and choose fluff.
In reality there are far more many registered voters who are really independent than there are Republicans. Just because I didn’t run as a Republican, I am far more conservative and much more Republican than is Overbey. In East Tennessee everyone calls themselves Republican, even if they have voted to restrict private business and personal freedoms as has Mr. Overbey. His votes don’t support civil rights or liberties and don’t make him Republican. Clearly he is not conservative.
If he challenged me I would need to either accept the challenge or admit that I was asking the voters to trust me to protect over 100,000 of them and their families, even though I was afraid to confront one challenger in face-to-face debated.
In terms of staying in touch with his constituency, Dr. Finney was by far the most superior Senator that Sevier County has had for the last half a century. As well as Dr. Finney did in coming to Sevier County, I can do just as well by having a like presence in Blount County.
The problem with our political system is that special interests have bought it. If an independent candidate is deprived of equal treatment then the media itself is a special interest camouflaging itself in words like journalist balance and editorial integrity, even though it isn’t even fulfilling the simplest duty of giving their customers the news.
I hope that the Chambers, civic and business organizations in both counties will put together a series of five or six debates so no candidate can just buy what becomes the accepted truth. Until that happens please visit my campaign site at www.voteira.com for much more information about why I am running for this office.
Let’s count all the candidates. That is what fair elections are about.

StillRightChoice writes:

VolGolfer1998 , The fact that you keep coming here and posting tells me your not so sure of the ultimate outcome. Thats the reason I'm here. Laugh all you want- if Overbey takes Senate you won't be laughing for long.

StillRightChoice writes:

www.voteira.com Mr. Lapides good luck!

VolGolfer1998 writes:

No, really we just enjoy messing with you because we know how angry you are about the outcome. It's actually quite entertaining. Especially because we all know how crazy your conspiracy theories are.

And endorsing Ira Lapides shows how little of Republican credentials you had in the first place! I hope Overbey is in office for 20 years, because he is a true public servant - and a great legislator at that! OVERBEY WINS! OVERBEY WINS!

VolGolfer1998 writes:

And I apologize Ira, when I say Overbey won, I mean the primary, which he did win against Finney.

StillRightChoice writes:

Your so very funny! Quite amusing and so witty! I would vote Ira Lapides 100 times over Overbey. I agree with Ira "I am far more conservative and much more Republican than is Overbey. In East Tennessee everyone calls themselves Republican, even if they have voted to restrict private business and personal freedoms as has Mr. Overbey. His votes don’t support civil rights or liberties and don’t make him Republican. Clearly he is not conservative."

Floydthebarber writes:

Found this online this afternoon on knoxnews.com:

MARYVILLE - State Sen. Raymond Finney said today he "probably" will drop his request for a recount of votes in Sevier County in last week's Republican primary, which he unofficially lost to Rep. Doug Overbey by 139 votes.

Both candidates are Maryville Republicans.

Finney, who served one term representing Blount and Sevier counties, said part of the reason he filed the petition was that there is a very short window of time after the election in which he can ask for a recount and that if he had had more time to investigate what his petition called "irregularities" in the voting he might not have filed the petition.

Finney said he intends to "go on with my life" and added that some of the questions raised in his petition "may never be answered."

Read the complete story Saturday online and in the News Sentinel.

Wish you and Mrs. Finney "All the Best" on your retirement.

Hopefully I can get sister Sarah calmed down before she gets another case of the itchey bowel problem. Her husband Elmer called last night and said Sarah ate a mess of maters, big mistate! She went to Kroger and caused a ruckus in the womens bathroom and even called the fire bregade to hose it down. Cuzin Billey up on Nebo should get back on track of taken care of his Pit Bulls before they cross pollinate with the goats. Dang that would be a "Mell of a Hess" ugly creature I would imagine. Peace FTB

AlcoaGuy0157 writes:

That's just to bad for ole RightChoice. I guess their crazy theories just didn't pan out for them. Maybe they can just write a book that no one will read about it.

Exactly how mad will you be RightChoice for the next four years seeing Doug Overbey doing a wonderful job in the Senate? How angry are you that you have been wrong all along, and your false smears had zero impact on anyone?

StillRightChoice writes:

I won't be mad at all if Overbey does a "wondeful" job in the Senate. I will be relieved and very glad. You ask "How angry are you that you have been wrong all along, and your false smears had zero impact on anyone?" Well, I'm not angry at all. I do not feel that I was wrong about anything that I said.
The fact that Overbey won by such a very, very small amount speaks volumes.
Even with all his high dollar investors and misleading ads - he still just barely won.
The best we can hope for is that he does a good job. It would benefit all of us.
I wish Senator Finney the best in his retirement and thank him for a job well done.

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