Anyone looking to enter the Blount County Public Library Tuesday night had to wait in a line that stretched down the hall and out the front doors. The reception for Blount County General Sessions Judge David Duggan went well past the planned hour-long reception and drew more than 500 people to the Sharon Lawson room.
Duggan, a Republican, is running for Blount County Circuit Court Judge. He will be running against Circuit Court Judge Mike Meares, a Democrat, in a race that won’t be decided until the August election. “It’s a long time from January to August, and we’re not used to having a six-month general election campaign,” Duggan said. “We’re used to three months. It’s new having so much time between the primary and general election. Tonight was about as great a night as I could have hoped for.”
Duggan said he was very pleasantly surprised by the turnout.
“I thought we would have good turn out but didn’t think we would have as many as we did. I’m so thankful to have so many friends. It was a great night,” he said. “We think we had over 500 people. It’s a great start.”
Blount County Commissioner Mike Lewis said Duggan was the kind of person needed as Circuit Court judge. “I look forward to the job he would do and what he would bring to that position,” Lewis said.
Teresa Horn of Maryville praised Duggan for his integrity and character. “I know David through the Blount County Historic Trust. David has such an awesome attitude. He has such a love for this community.”
Dwain Duggan, David Duggan’s uncle, said the judge always used to help him on his farm when David Duggan was a child. “He was a good one to clean up the barn, a hard worker. When he was sworn in as Sessions judge, I asked if had lost my farm hand,” Dwain Duggan said.
“I can’t express how much he means to the family. Everybody is proud of him,” Dwain Duggan said.
Dwain Duggan said the judge’s mother died when he was a young teenager but that didn’t stop him from having a good attitude and excelling in school. “When he sets his mind to something, he’ll finish the chore,” Dwain Duggan said.
The judge’s cousin Judy Baumgardner said she remembered when the judge was a burr-headed little boy with big ears. “He would aggravate us and would say he was going to grow up to be president. His mother said, ‘Don’t tease David. He might grow up to be president,” Baumgardner said.
Baumgardner and the judge’s sister, Kathy Lane, said they don’t go Christmas shopping with him anymore because they can never get anything done. “We couldn’t go shopping with him because everybody in the mall would stop him,” Baumgardner said.
Lane said her brother always had a positive attitude. “I’ve watched him from the time mom died, and he’s always been positive. My mom said he could do anything he wants to do. He’s always been organized. He’s always been mature,” Lane said.
Bo Henry said nobody in the Republican Party has done more for the party than Duggan. “We all need to get behind him in this campaign,” he said.
Attorney David Boyd praised Duggan. “I just think Judge Duggan is a great General Sessions judge and would be a true asset if elected as Circuit Court judge,” he said.
Blount County School board member Chris Cantrell said Duggan did a great job as attorney for the school board before becoming General Sessions judge. “I wanted to show my support,” he said.