Lascassas resident Harris Florida lives on East Jefferson Pike between County Commissioner Jack Black and County Commissioner-elect Steve Pearcy, so it was hard for him to publicly pick a favorite in the race for the District 2 post.
“I’m glad it’s over,” was all Florida, retired from Middle Tennessee Electric, had to say after Pearcy’s victory in Tuesday’s Republican primary. Facing no competition in the August general election, Pearcy gains a four-year term representing the largely rural area that stretches west past Walter Hill.
Pearcy, owner of Pearcy’s General Merchandise, a feed and seed store on East Jefferson Pike in the heart of Lascassas, collected 858 votes, 59.5 percent, to Black’s 582, 40.4 percent, to unseat the three-term veteran.
“I want to try to pull our community back together and support them,” Pearcy said in the wake of the victory.
He believes Black’s proposal in 2013 to move a county convenience center from privately-owned land to the site of the Lascassas ball fields, fire hall and Lions Club may have upset the community and influenced the vote’s outcome.
Rutherford County was leasing the property from Peachtree Landscaping for $15,000 annually and wound up purchasing the 2-acre tract for $220,000 after the company announced it was selling its land and ended the lease.
The issue brought a split crowd of Lascassas residents to the Rutherford County Courthouse for a public hearing on the matter before the commission vote, many of whom thought the county was paying too much for the property. Black said he felt Peachtree was trying to strong-arm the county with the sale price and offered the alternative of building on the old Lascassas school site.
Lascassas resident Melinda Black told commissioners that night her ancestors gave the land for the old school and that her father, “Buddy” Brown, offered his part of the property for the fire department, ball fields and other county emergency services. She opposed moving the convenience center there.
Meanwhile, Lascassas cattle farmer Mike Vaught, a member of the Rutherford County Regional Planning Commission, was somewhat conciliatory in the wake of Pearcy’s win. Black filed an ethics complaint against Vaught last summer, contending he had a conflict of interest in the search for a different convenience center site since he’s also a real estate agent. The county’s ethics panel found Vaught had no conflict.
Vaught declined to address the matter other than to say, “I think Steve will do a good job. He wanted to serve.” Vaught noted that the 2nd District has a history of people serving for no more than 12 years, including James Robert Ward, his brother Stan Vaught and now Black. Lindell Vaughn served one term in between Stan Vaught and Black.
Coy Young, a member of the Rutherford County School Board who supported Black, was low key after the decision.
“People spoke. They got their votes in and we’ll see how it goes. I wish Mr. Pearcy the best,” said Young, who owns a feed store in the community.
Young, however, said he felt Black’s proposal for the convenience center site “dictated how the vote came out,” and he felt that was the wrong reason for selecting a county commissioner.
His wife, Jennifer felt the main reason Black might have lost the election was that Democrats didn’t get out to vote. This was the county’s first venture into a GOP primary for County Commission seats.
The 2nd District actually tallied the highest voter turnout in the county, with 1,441 ballots cast.
“It was just a weird election. We never had a primary before,” Young said. “I think Jack did a good of serving this community.”
His wife echoed those sentiments.
“(Black) has done great things for this community,” she said. “I just hope the man who won puts his heart into this community and helps it progress.”
Incumbent County Commissioner Matthew Young also lost his District 16 seat, after one term, to challenger Phillip Dodd. Young is set for a Circuit Court plea on assault and kidnapping charges against him in connection with ticket selling deal that went awry. Young was also indicted in Nashville for allegedly selling bogus concert tickets.
Dodd declined to comment on whether the charges against Young had an impact on the results.
“First of all, we were diligent,” he said. “Our biggest focus was going door to door, so we worked for it.” Dodd said his involvement with community groups also brought him some name recognition.
In District 6, incumbent County Commissioner Joe Frank Jernigan, who is accused of stealing his opponents’ campaign signs, defeated Matt Harvey. Jernigan picked up 520 votes, 53.7 percent, to 446, 46.2 percent for Harvey, a Murfreesboro Police officer. Jernigan is unopposed in August.
· County Commission, District 1
Doug Shafer, La Vergne, 107 votes (unopposed in August)
· County Commission, District 3
Will Jordan, Murfreesboro, 501 votes (unopposed in August)
· County Commission, District 4
Jon Jaques, Murfreesboro, 583 votes (faces Jon Frazier, independent, and Robert Peay, independent, in August)
· County Commission, District 5
Carol Cook, La Vergne, 203 votes (unopposed in August)
· County Commission, District 7
Phil A. Griffin, Murfreesboro, 203 votes (34.1 percent)
Michael D. Kusch, Murfreesboro, 305 votes (51.2 percent – unopposed in August)
Moncrief Williams, Murfreesboro, 87 votes (14.6 percent)
· County Commission, District 8
Edward Phillips, Bell Buckle, 602 votes (faces Pettus Read, independent, and Steve Spence, independent, in August)
· County Commission, District 9
Jason B. Bour, Smyrna, 165 votes (32.4 percent)
Joe A. Gourley, Smyrna, 343 votes (67.5 percent – unopposed in August)
· County Commission, District 10
Tony Campbell, Smyrna, 142 votes (31 percent)
Brad Turner, Smyrna, 316 votes (69 percent – unopposed in August)
· County Commission, District 11
Rhonda Allen, Smyrna, 278 votes (60.1 percent – unopposed in August)
M. Preston Sparks, Smyrna, 184 votes (39.8 percent)
· County Commission, District 12
Robert Stevens, Smyrna, 225 votes (unopposed in August)
· County Commission, District 13
Paul Johnson, Murfreesboro, 412 votes (faces Chris Deal, independent, in August)
· County Commission, District 14
Charles Baum, Murfreesboro, 1,132 votes (faces Tony Gaines, independent, in August)
· County Commission, District 15
David Nipper, Murfreesboro, 461 votes (54.6 percent – faces Tim Roediger, independent, in August)
Joanne Skidmore, Murfreesboro, 380 votes (45 percent)
· County Commission, District 17
Jeff Phillips, Murfreesboro, 232 votes (83.7 percent – unopposed in August)
Matthew S. Roe, Murfreesboro, 45 votes (16.2 percent)
· County Commission, District 18
Allen McAdoo, Murfreesboro, 396 votes (unopposed in August)
· County Commission, District 19
Shawn Kaplan, Murfreesboro, 348 votes (unopposed in August)
· County Commission, District 20
Trey Gooch, Murfreesboro, 495 votes (unopposed in August)
· County Commission, District 21
Patsy Briley, Murfreesboro, 470 votes (faces incumbent Chantho Sourinho, Democrat, in August)