Mathes says he’s still weighing write-in bid
Despite losing the primary election earlier this month, Carter County Sheriff Chris Mathes’ ambitions to remain sheriff may not be at an end.
On Wednesday morning, Mathes told the Elizabethton Star that he will “most likely” run a write-in campaign in the August General Election to try to retain the office. Mathes said he plans to make his final decision on this issue by the weekend.
Later in the day on Wednesday, some area media outlets began reporting that Mathes had confirmed his write-in candidacy. Following those reports, Mathes released an official press release restating that he hasn’t made a final decision about a write-in campaign.
“After tremendous encouragement, I am very much considering a Write-In Campaign for Carter County Sheriff,” Mathes said in the released statement. “I will be making an official announcement this Saturday at 4 p.m. in the cafeteria of Elizabethton High School.”
Mathes lost his bid for the Republican nomination to retired Tennessee Highway Patrol Officer Dexter Lunceford by a margin of less than 70 votes.
Since that time, Mathes said, he has received a “tremendous outpouring of support” and has talked to numerous people throughout Carter County who have asked him to run a write-in campaign.
Mathes said one of the factors that made him consider running as a write-in candidate was the low voter turnout for the primary election. He said he never dreamed that the turnout for the primary would be fewer than 10,000 voters, and he feels more voters will participate in the August election.
Mathes said he knows he will possibly face fallout if he does choose to run a write-in campaign, due to statements he made on election night after the results came in.
“There will not be a write-in campaign,” Mathes told the Star on election night. “I am a man of my word and I will support the Republican nominee. The people have spoken and I accept that. I am proud of the last eight years and the men and women of the department.”
Mathes said on Wednesday that statements he made on election night were made during a very emotional time. He said he has had time to think since that night, and the outpouring of support has made him reconsider his actions and the decision he announced on election night.
If Mathes does decide to run a write-in campaign he would face the Republican nominee Lunceford and independent candidate retired Lt. Col. James Parrish in the August General Election.
Administrator of Elections Tracy Harris confirmed on Wednesday afternoon that Mathes has picked up the packet of paperwork which is required under state law to become a certified write-in candidate, but that he had not turned in the required paperwork as of Wednesday afternoon.