Barnett unseats Humphrey in bid for Carter County Mayor

Published 11:48 pm Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Carter County’s incumbent mayor fell to one of three challengers on Tuesday evening as Rusty Barnett captured the Republican Party’s nomination for the office of County Mayor.

When the final votes were counted, Barnett captured 3,679 of the 9,492 votes cast in the mayor’s race, giving him 38.76 percent of the vote. Incumbent Leon Humphrey came in second place, garnering 2,955 votes for 31.13 percent. Danny Ward took third place in the race with 2,236 votes for 23.56 percent. Larry Shell rounded out the field of candidates in fourth place with 615 votes for 6.48 percent.

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Barnett jumped out to an early lead when the early voting results were announced, and he maintained that overall lead throughout the evening.

Barnett carried 17 of the counties 22 precincts: Hunter, Midway, Unaka, Roan Mountain, Tiger Valley, Central, Keenburg, Courthouse, Eastside, Siam, Armory, Little Milligan, Hampton, Valley Forge, Gap Creek, Westside, and High School. Humphrey carried only 5 of the precincts: Range, Watauga, Happy Valley, Elk Mills, and Harold McCormick. Neither Ward nor Shell carried a precinct.

Barnett celebrated his victory Tuesday evening at a gathering with family, friends, and supporters at Star Fitness in Elizabethton.

“I was ecstatic and very humbled,” Barnett said of his emotions upon hearing the election results. “It’s a dream come true.”

Barnett said he and those who have supported him have been working hard since last fall on his election campaign. On Tuesday night, all of that hard work paid off, Barnett said.

“I’m very humbled that the people had faith in me,” Barnett said. “And, for the people who didn’t vote for me, I just ask that they give me a chance to work together with others and do a good job.”

No candidates filed to run in the Democrat Primary, and none qualified to run as an Independent candidate, so  Barnett will be unopposed in the August General Election.

After he takes office, Barnett said one of his top priorities would be fostering good working relationships with other county departments as well as with other local governments as well.

“As I said before, ‘I’ can’t do anything, it has to be ‘we,’” Barnett said. “Teamwork is the key.”

Barnett said he spoke to Humphrey briefly after the results were announced.

“He called and congratulated me on my victory,” Barnett said.