Tuesday was Anderson County primary election day, and after several months of campaigning, the voters made their choices in several contested races. In all, including early voting, absentee ballots and election day voters, 10,390 Anderson Countians headed to the polls.
All of the contested races were on the Republican side of the ballot and five of them decided the August general election as well. No contested Democratic races were on that side of the ballot.
In the highest-profile race, that for County Mayor, incumbent Terry Frank held off a stiff challenge from Commissioner Steve Emert to secure a second, full, four-year term in office. Despite trailing after early voting, Frank made up the slim difference to win with 4771 votes compared to Emert’s 4618, a difference of only 153 votes.
The race for Circuit Court Clerk was also decided in the Republican primary, where former County Mayor Rex Lynch easily unseated incumbent William Jones by a margin of 5600 votes to 2639. Jones, of course has been the subject of controversy since earlier this year, when allegations of sexual harassment and inappropriate workplace behavior were made public and he was censured by the County Commission and asked to resign. He did not, and on Tuesday, the electorate made the decision for him.
Two longtime incumbents fended off challenges in the GOP primary, starting with County Clerk Jeff Cole, who was re-elected to a fifth term in office by a margin of 6665 votes to challenger Leesa Arowood’s 2538.
Fellow incumbent Tim Shelton was also re-elected to a fifth term, garnering 6456 votes to Michael Foster’s 2479. Both Arowood and Foster were running their first campaigns for elected office.
Road Superintendent Gary Long was unopposed in Tuesday’s primary and also faces no opposition in the August general election, so he will serve another four year term after receiving 8236 courtesy votes.
There were two Republican primaries where the winners will face opposition later this year and those were the races for the GOP nominations for Sheriff and Trustee.
In the Sheriff’s race, Russell Barker earned the nomination with 4314 votes, outpacing Lewis Ridenour with 3150 votes and Mark “Hollywood” Whaley, who picked up 1575 votes. Barker, the Director of the 7th Judicial District Drug Task Force, will face Democrat Mark Lucas in August. Lucas, who is currently the Chief Deputy of the ACSD, was unopposed on Tuesday and picked up 763 courtesy votes.
The Republican primary for the nomination to run for Trustee was won by Regina Copeland, who received 4506 votes to defeat Scott Burton, who had 2861 votes, and Scott Gillenwaters, who garnered 1719. Copeland will face unopposed Democrat Ebony Capshaw in the August general election in a race that will make a little history in Anderson County. Capshaw is the first African-American woman to run for a countywide office in the history of Anderson County and it is believed that this will be the first countywide race to feature two female candidates.
For a complete look at the unofficial results from Tuesday’s primary elections, click here.