It was a good night for incumbents in five local races in Oak Ridge and the Tennessee House and Senate. With one exception, they were all re-elected.
Chuck Hope and Charlie Hensley had hundreds of votes to spare as they easily won re-election to Oak Ridge City Council. Keys Fillauer and Angi Agle, the two incumbents on the Oak Ridge Board of Education, also coasted to victory.
Tennessee Rep. John Ragan, an Oak Ridge Republican, won a narrower victory over former Rep. Jim Hackworth, a Clinton Democrat. Ragan received 699 more votes than Hackworth, according to unofficial results. He finished ahead by 51.4 percent to 48.6 percent.
The one newcomer elected Tuesday was Trina Baughn. She will join Hope and Hensley to serve on Council.
Gone will be incumbent Ellen Smith, who was soundly defeated. Hope and Baughn each finished ahead of Smith by more than 2,000 votes, according to unofficial results in Anderson and Roane counties.
Baughn first campaigned for a City Council seat in an August special election, when she lost to Hope. Hope was appointed to Council last summer after former member Tom Hayes resigned.
Baughn and Hope both said the August special election helped prepare them for Tuesday’s municipal election.
The training paid off. Hope finished first Tuesday with 6,887 votes, and Baughn was second with 6,739, according to the unofficial results.
Baughn, a communications professional, credited hard work and the efforts of some 20 to 50 volunteers making phone calls and visiting voters.
“We knocked on doors, and we went to the voters,” said Baughn, who is perhaps best known for her newspaper columns and work challenging city and school system spending. “The supporters that I have are elated that I won.”
Top priorities for the new council member are controlling spending, lowering the property tax rate, and reducing the city’s debt.
Hope, owner of Chuck’s Car Care, was not available for comment late Tuesday night.
It was a disappointing night for Smith, who served one term on City Council. She collected 4,624 votes.
“The results are surprising, and I don’t understand them,” said Smith, a research staff member at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. “I was pretty roundly defeated.”
A fifth candidate, business executive and Oak Ridge planning commissioner Kelly Callison, finished fourth in the City Council race, with 5,450 votes.
In the school board race, Agle and Fillauer both trounced Leonard Abbatiello, a former Oak Ridge City Council member, by more than 2,000 votes.
“I’m thankful that the people of Oak Ridge put the priority on students because that was the focus of my campaign and the focus of Keys’ campaign,” said Agle, who was battling for a third term.
Like Baughn, Agle credited door-to-door campaigning for her win, as well as her daily work during early voting and the newspaper articles she’s written during the past few years.
Now, she said, the first priority of the school board is to select a new superintendent, possibly on Dec. 8. Tom Bailey, the current superintendent, is retiring at the end of the year.
Agle said she also wants to continue making improvements in school curricula and student performance.
It was the second time Ragan and Hackworth ran against each other in the state’s 33rd District, which includes most of Anderson County. Ragan beat Hackworth in the 2010 election.
This year’s contest between the two men was one of a half-dozen key races in the Tennessee House of Representatives, and it was expected to help Republicans gain a supermajority.
“I knew it was a close race,” Ragan said in a Tuesday night celebration at Buffalo Mountain Grille in Oak Ridge. “It was a hard-fought race.”
Ragan, a retired Air Force pilot, said Republicans in the Tennessee General Assembly have cut spending and taxes, and created a more job-friendly environment. Jobs and education will remain top priorities for him in the upcoming legislative session, Ragan said.
Another local incumbent who was re-elected was Oak Ridge City Judge Robert A. McNees III. He had no opposition.
Neither did Tennessee Sen. Ken Yager, who was re-elected in the 12th Senatorial District. Yager’s district includes Roane, Morgan, Rhea, Scott, Campbell, and Fentress counties.
In other elections, the vote on a liquor referendum to allow package stores to sell alcoholic beverages in Oliver Springs appeared to have been rejected, with 486 voting yes and 519 voting “no” in Anderson and Roane counties.
Three-quarters of Clinton voters agreed to move the city’s general elections from December of odd-numbered years to November of even-numbered years, when they will coincide with state and federal elections.
Republican Kent Calfee defeated Democrat Jack W. McNew by a 68.6 percent to 26.7 margin in Roane County for a chance to represent the 32nd District in the Tennessee House, according to unofficial Roane County results. The district includes Roane County and part of Loudon County.
Unofficial results showed Calfee, who beat the incumbent, Julia Hurley, in the August primary, had an even higher victory margin in Loudon County: 72.4 percent to 20.8.
Here are highlights of Tuesday’s unofficial results in Anderson and Roane counties:
Oak Ridge City Council
Oak Ridge Board of Education
Tennessee House of Representatives, 33rd District:
Ragan, Oak Ridge Republican—12,825 (51.4 percent)
Hackworth, Clinton Democrat—12,126 (48.6 percent)
Oliver Springs liquor referendum (To allow retail package stores to sell alcoholic beverages in the city of Oliver Springs):
Clinton charter question (To move Clinton general elections from December of odd-numbered years to November of even-numbered years):
For—2,556 (75.7 percent)
Against—819 (24.3 percent)
Note: This story has been corrected to show new vote totals for Ragan and Hackworth.