More than 50 residents pick up petitions for 2018 elections

Published 5:33 pm Friday, December 29, 2017

As the county heads into 2018, more than 50 local residents have expressed their interest in becoming candidates in county elections next year.

The election process for 2018 officially began on Nov. 17 when candidates began picking up their qualification paperwork from the Carter County Election Commission. In the six weeks since that time, 54 individuals have picked up petitions to become candidates in either the political party primary elections in May or as independent candidates in the August general election.

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Every county office except for the Assessor of Property will be on the ballot in 2018. Under state law, the Assessor of Property is elected in the off-year cycle. Carter County Assessor of Property Ronnie Taylor was re-elected in 2016.

Both the Carter County Republican Party and the Carter County Democratic Party will host primary elections for the various county offices.

Any resident interested in running for a county office and seeking the nomination of either the Republican or Democratic parties must qualify as a candidate for the primary election. The winners of the primary election will go on to be their party’s nominee in the August 2018 general election.

Those who wish to run for a county office as an independent candidate do not have to compete in the primary election, but they must still complete their qualification paperwork by the same deadline as those seeking a party’s nomination. Independent candidates will also appear on the ballot for the August general election.

To qualify as a candidate for either party’s primary election or as an independent, residents must complete a candidate petition.

Each candidate petition must contain the signatures of at least 25 registered voters in order for the candidate to qualify. Those seeking election to a county-wide office — such as Mayor or Sheriff — can obtain signatures from registered voters residing anywhere in Carter County. Those running for district-specific offices — such as County Commission or Constable — must obtain their 25 signatures from registered voters residing within that district.

Candidates must have their qualification papers turned in to the Carter County Election Commission by noon on February 15, 2018. If for any reason a candidate wishes to withdraw from the election after qualifying as a candidate, he or she must submit a written letter of withdrawal to the Election Commission Office by noon on February 22. After that deadline, the candidate’s name will still appear on the ballot whether or not they are actively campaigning.

Below is a list of individuals who have picked up petitions seeking public offices in the specified races as either candidates for a political party nomination in the May primaries or as independent candidates who will appear on the ballot in the August general election.

Carter County Mayor:

Rusty Barnett

Larry Shell

Danny Ward

Carter County


Rocky Croy

Dexter Lunceford

Elbert “Stevie” Stevenson

County Clerk:

Mary Gouge

Patsy Lewis

Bruce Pierce


Randall Lewis

Walter F. Andrews Jr.

Register of Deeds:

Jarrod Ellis

Jessica Markland

Adam Townsend



Roger Colbaugh

Circuit Court Clerk:

Johnny Blankenship

Carter County


(Residents elect three per district)

Willie Campbell – 1st District

Dr. Robert Acuff – 1st District

Steven Blevins – 1st District

Al Meehan – 2nd District

Richard Guinn – 2nd District

John Babb – 2nd District

Mike Hill – 2nd District

Brad Johnson – 3rd District

Charles VonCannon – 3rd District

Ronnie Trivett – 3rd District

Kelvin G. Moffett – 3rd District

Isaiah Grindstaff – 4th District

Ross Garland – 5th District

Randall Jenkins – 6th District

Donnie Cable – 6th District

Travis Hill – 6th District

Myles Cook – 8th District

Rick Richardson – 8th District

Robin McKamey – 8th District


(Residents elect two per district)

Ronald Reed – 1st District

Larry P. Perry – 1st District

Gary W. Perry – 1st District

Barney Brown – 2nd District

Leonard Johnson – 2nd District

Brian Keener – 2nd District

Roy A. Coffey – 2nd District

Paul Birchfield – 2nd District

Scott Hall – 3rd District

Jerry Miller – 3rd District

Jason Jones – 4th District

Harvey Shaffer – 4th District

Larry Presnell – 5th District

Mark Carrier – 5th District

John Henson – 6th District

Bobbie Trivette – 6th District

Ken Potter – 7th District

Gabriel “Seth” Babb – 7th District

So far, according to the Election Commission, 18 of those candidates have already turned their petitions back in and qualified as candidates. Those individuals are: Johnny Blankenship, Jarrod Ellis, Patsy Lewis, John Henson, Rocky Croy, Bruce Pierce, Rusty Barnett, Jessica Markland, Mary Gouge, Willie Campbell, Roger Colbaugh, Jason Jones, Gabriel “Seth” Babb, Larry Shell, Dexter Lunceford, Larry Presnell, Mark Carrier, and Ronald Reed.

For more information on candidate paperwork, registering to vote, or anything related to the upcoming elections, contact the Carter County Election Commission at 423-542-1822 or stop by their office located at 116 Holston Avenue, Elizabethton, across from the Health Department.