Guest column: Open primaries mean voters can choose which primary to vote in

Myron Iwanski

Myron Iwanski

Comments I have heard regarding the upcoming election indicate some confusion about who can vote in this primary.

The election is a primary to determine who the Democratic and Republican candidates will be for countywide offices in Anderson County. This is an “open primary,” which means a voter does not register as a Democratic or Republican and can choose to vote in either the Republican or Democratic primary.

While most seeking countywide offices in Anderson County run as a party candidate, most residents I have talked to vote for who they believe are the best candidates for Anderson County—no matter the party.

It is puzzling how in national elections the percentage of registered voters voting in Anderson County is much higher than in local elections like those coming up in May and August. In the last presidential election, 60 percent of registered voters in Anderson County (29,283 of 49,169 eligible) voted. However in the last local county primary election, only 17 percent of registered voters (7,765 of 46,186) voted. [Read more...]

Most Anderson commissioners seek re-election, six running in District 7 in OR

Anderson County Courthouse

The Anderson County Courthouse on Main Street in Clinton is pictured above.

There are six candidates running for Anderson County Commission in District 7 in Oak Ridge in August, and a Democrat has joined the race for Tennessee House of Representatives in the 33rd District.

Meanwhile, an Independent, Bradley S. Rickett, has joined the race for Anderson County mayor, competing against Democrat Jim Hackworth and the winner of the May 6 Republican primary, either the incumbent, Terry Frank, or her challenger, Commissioner Zach Bates.

Fourteen of the 16 Anderson County commissioners are seeking re-election to a four-year term. But Bates, from District 4 in the Lake City area, is not. And neither is Commissioner John Shuey. Shuey is one of two commissioners in District 7, which includes the Glenwood, Highland View, and Pine Valley precincts in Oak Ridge.

District 7 is the most competitive in terms of number of candidates. In addition to the incumbent, Jerry Creasey, other candidates include Jimmy Bouchard, Michael Marsh, Denny Phillips, Kevin Rice, and Theresa Scott.

District 3—which includes Andersonville, Fairview, Glen Alpine, and Norris—has five candidates, including the two incumbents, Steve Emert and Dusty Irwin. The other three candidates are Josh Anderson, David Farmer, and Philip Warfield. [Read more...]

Meredith to seek re-election to Anderson County Commission

Rick Meredith

Rick Meredith

County Commissioner Rick Meredith has announced he is seeking re-election to the Anderson County Commission, representing District 2. District 2 includes the Clinton, South Clinton, and North Clinton precincts.

“It has truly been an honor to represent the residents of District 2 on County Commission,” Meredith said in a press release. “I take very seriously the trust that you have placed in me, and it is my hope that you will allow me to continue serving you and working with my fellow commissioners to move Anderson County forward.”

First elected in 2010, Meredith said he brings extensive experience in economic and community development to the Commission, as well as knowledge of both state and local planning and program management. He joined the Hollingsworth Companies in 2010 as senior vice president for community development. [Read more...]

Hackworth running for Anderson County mayor

Jim Hackworth

Jim Hackworth

CLINTON—Former Anderson County Commissioner and Tennessee Rep. Jim Hackworth announced last week that he is a Democratic candidate for Anderson County mayor in the Aug. 7 county general election.

“I am running for county mayor because I am concerned with the lack of focus the current administration has for the issues, such as education, jobs, and quality of life, that are important to Anderson County residents,” Hackworth said in a press release. “Whether serving as a county commissioner or a state representative, I worked with other elected officials to fight for fiscal responsibility, good schools, reduced taxes, and safer neighborhoods and communities.Our management of these issues attracted the attention of businesses and brought new jobs to Anderson County.”

Hackworth is an Anderson County native who worked 34 years at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory as a project leader and program manager in the Maintenance and Engineering divisions. He retired in 2008.

Hackworth served as a state representative for 10 years and as a county commissioner for eight years. [Read more...]

Judge Layton seeks third term

Don Layton

Don Layton

Don A. Layton, Anderson County General Sessions judge, Division I, is seeking a third term in this year’s elections.

Layton has been sessions judge since 1998. A resident of Anderson County for 44 years, he has practiced law since 1973.

Layton has been married for 44 years to Mary Layton, a former Clinton and Oak Ridge school teacher, a press release said. They have two children. Amy, a school teacher at Karns Middle School, and Chris, a teacher and football coach at Robertsville Middle School. Both are graduates of Oak Ridge High School.

The press release said Don Layton has served the public as Anderson County clerk and master and delegate to the Constitutional Convention of 1977. Layton was recognized in 1996 as the state’s Most Outstanding Court Clerk. [Read more...]

Sheriff White seeks re-election

Paul White

Paul White

Sheriff Paul White is seeking re-election as Anderson County sheriff. White was first elected in 2006 and re-elected in 2010.

White is a veteran law officer with 38 years of experience, a press release said. His first five years were with the Oliver Springs Police Department, where he served as a police officer and patrol sergeant. The remaining 33 years have been with the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department, where he advanced through the ranks from patrol deputy to commanding the Patrol Division and Court Services.

During his career, White had the opportunity to hold almost every position within the Sheriff’s Department and at one time was appointed “acting sheriff,” the release said.

“Having served under the last five administrations, Paul White had the unique opportunity to observe and utilize many ideas and practices as to how the Sheriff’s Department could best serve the needs of Anderson County,” the release said. [Read more...]

Commissioner Bates opposing Mayor Frank in May Republican primary

Zach Bates Announces for Anderson County Mayor

Anderson County Commissioner Zach Bates, pictured at center with his wife Whitney, announces he is running for Anderson County mayor in the Republican primary in May.

CLINTON—Anderson County Commissioner Zach Bates on Tuesday announced he is running for Anderson County mayor in the Republican primary in May.

Bates, 25, will oppose Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank, 45, who was elected to a two-year term in August 2012, completing the unexpired term of former mayor Rex Lynch, who resigned in January 2011.

The oldest of 19 children, Bates was 21 when he was elected to the Anderson County Commission  in 2010. He represents District 4, which includes Lake City and Briceville. County officials said he is the youngest mayoral candidate they can recall.

His challenge to Frank might have appeared unexpected. The two have at times appeared to be politically aligned, including, for example, on the citizen-led initiative to install “In God We Trust” signs on the Anderson County Courthouse in Clinton in July 2013. [Read more...]

Assistant DA running for juvenile court judge

Victoria "Vickie" Bannach

Victoria “Vickie” Bannach

Assistant District Attorney General Victoria “Vickie” Bannach is running as a Republican candidate for Anderson County Juvenile Court judge.

“As a parent and prosecuting attorney, she has seen first-hand the importance of stable families, strong values, good education, and discipline in raising healthy, well-adjusted children, and maintaining a safe community,” a press release said.

Bannach is one of five potential candidates for Anderson County Juvenile Court judge. The current juvenile court judge, Brandon Fisher, a Clinton Democrat, is running for Anderson County chancellor.

In the press release, Bannach said she will ensure that the children and families of Anderson County are treated with compassion, and reunification, fairness, and equality will be considered in juvenile court cases. At the same time, the best interests of the children will be protected, she said.

“The residents of Anderson County deserve no less,” Bannach said. [Read more...]

Clement will seek juvenile judge seat

Michael Clement

Michael Clement

Attorney J. Michael Clement has announced that he will be a candidate for Anderson County Juvenile Court judge in the 2014 election.

Clement opened his general law practice in Clinton 27 years ago, and he has represented clients in Juvenile Court since he first began practicing law. He is seeking the judgeship now held by Judge Brandon Fisher, who has announced that he will be a candidate for Anderson County chancellor.

Clement, who lives in Clinton, has experience on the bench as a special Juvenile Court judge and as a special General Sessions Court judge, appointed by judges to sit in those positions. He has served as a guardian ad litem in Juvenile Court.

“I bring a wealth of knowledge and a depth of feeling for the Juvenile Court system, having practiced in the system for 27 years,” Clement said. “I have done some of the most gratifying work of my career in Juvenile Court, and I have also had my heart broken in Juvenile Court. I have experienced the whole gamut of emotions.”
 [Read more...]

New citizens group will serve as county government watchdog, spokesman says

Anderson County General Sessions Flagpole

Lynn Byrge, back left, spokesman for a new political study group in Anderson County, watches above as Brad Heun, right, commander of Oak Ridge Veterans of Foreign Wars, and Leon Jaquet, director of Anderson County Veterans Office, raise the flag on a new flagpole at the General Sessions Courthouse in Oak Ridge in September.

A new community organization formed to study contentious political issues in Anderson County will be modeled after the PolitiFact fact-checking website, a spokesman said Monday.

The group of Anderson County residents is called Friends of Anderson County Taxpayers, or FACTs, spokesman Lynn Byrge said in a press release. The release said members are concerned about county spending, debt, and the threat of property tax increases.

The formation of the new group comes just before the start of what is expected to be a busy election year in Anderson County, with candidates already announcing they’re running for election or re-election on county commission and for various seats ranging from juvenile court judge to chancellor to sheriff.

Byrge, who helped lead the effort to install “In God We Trust” signs on the Anderson County Courthouse in Clinton, said FACTs has already organized study groups around specific areas of concern, including county commission’s legislative process, the sheriff’s department’s burgeoning budget, the role of the county law director, and the responsibilities of the county mayor. [Read more...]

Chancellor Lantrip announces retirement

Note: This story was updated at 1:51 p.m.

William E. Lantrip, longtime chancellor in Anderson County’s Seventh Judicial District, has announced he will not seek re-election in 2014.

“I have shared this decision with my fellow judges and members of the bar for some time and now believe it appropriate to make this decision known publicly,” Lantrip said in a Friday morning press release. “I have encouraged those interested in this office to consider pursuing election during next year’s election. I look forward to completing my service as I contemplate my retirement.” [Read more...]