Record number of voters turn out in county; Acuff, Johnson win County Commission races

Published 10:20 am Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Star Photo/Abby Morris-Frye  Robert Acuff speaks to a couple of voters outside the 100-foot boundary at Unaka Elementary School on Tuesday afternoon.

Star Photo/Abby Morris-Frye
Robert Acuff speaks to a couple of voters outside the 100-foot boundary at Unaka Elementary School on Tuesday afternoon.

Carter County voters turned out in record numbers on Tuesday.
In total, 11,312 residents of Carter County cast ballots during the 2016 Presidential Preference Primary and Carter County Republican Primary elections, which is equal to a voter turnout of 39.77 percent for the county. Of those voting, 2,932 cast their ballots either through early voting or by absentee ballot while 8,380 residents showed up at the polls on election day to make their selections.
“We beat our record from 2008,” said Carter County Administrator of Elections Tracy Harris. The previous record was 11,281 according to Harris.
No precincts reported any long lines or wait times, Harris said. “It was steady throughout the day,” she said of voter turnout.
The Election Commission office was busy answer phone calls and questions from voters, Harris said. The most commonly phoned in question was residents wanting to know what precinct they were designated to vote at, Harris said.
In addition to the Presidential Preference Primary elections for both the Republican and Democrat parties, which drew many voters to the polls, Carter Countians also selected a Republican nominees for several positions. No Democrat candidates filed paperwork seeking nomination for any of the county races.
Residents of the First and Third Districts also were tasked with selecting Republican nominees for one unexpired term for each district.
In the First District, three candidates squared off seeking the nomination: Dr. Robert Acuff, Robert “Bob” Robinson Jr., and Michael Warren.
When the early voting and absentee ballot numbers were released, Acuff took a large early lead, capturing 62.76 percent of the votes for the race. As the three precincts in the First District — Hunter, Unaka and Midway — reported in, Acuff widened the lead.
When the votes for the First District were tallied, Acuff won the Republican nomination by garnering 884 votes. Robinson and Warren each finished the night with 203 votes.
“It’s very humbling,” Acuff said after learning of his victory. “I am very blessed and privileged to be able to continue serving the citizens of Carter County, and especially those of the First District.”
Acuff was appointed to fill a vacant seat for the First District following the resignation of former Commissioner Jerry Proffitt. His original appointment was to serve until an election for the seat could be held.
When speaking of his win in the campaign, Acuff was quick to thank those who assisted him with his campaign.
“I couldn’t have done it without the help of everyone who supported me and helped me behind the scenes,” Acuff said. “I’m overwhelmed with the support I have received, both during early voting and out there today.”
Acuff said he looks forward to continuing his work on the Carter County Commission, especially his work as chairman of the Emergency Medical Service (EMS) Task Force and serving with the Tourism Task Force.
“I’m excited about both of those initiatives,” Acuff said, adding he things both task forces will be dealing with important issues that affect Carter County citizens such as job growth and emergency medical care.
In the county’s Third District, Bradley Johnson ran unopposed seeking the Republican nomination for an unexpired term on the Carter County Commission. The vacancy was created by the resignation of former Commissioner Beth Depew. Following Depew’s resignation, Johnson was appointed to fill that seat until an election could be held.
A total of 685 residents of the Third District cast ballots for Johnson to make him the Republican nominee for the seat on the Commission.
Also running unopposed were incumbent Ronnie Taylor, who was seeking re-election to the post of Assessor of Property, and James Lauderback, who was looking to be the Republican nominee for a Circuit Court Judge position. Taylor received 6,434 votes while Lauderback captured 5,160.
All of the Republican nominees for the county offices will now move on to the county’s general election in August, where they will run unopposed unless a candidate mounts a write-in campaign.
Overall, Harris said the election went “very smoothly” with only a few minor technical glitches coming up at the precincts.
This marked the first election since the Carter County Election Commission moved to it’s new office at 116 Holston Avenue. Having the additional space in the office helped everything run smoothly, Harris said, adding she was pleased with how everything worked out on the first Election Day in their new home.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox