County gears up for busy election year

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As an election year, 2010 will be fairly busy.

First up is the Murfreesboro City Elections on April 20, where several city seats will be voted on.

On Aug. 5, voters will go to the polls to select state and national candidates for November’s election in the state primary. Various county seats will be filled that day during the county general election also.

Voters will cast their final ballots of the year Tuesday, Nov. 2 in the state and federal general election, which will also have Eagleville, La Vergne and Smyrna voters casting ballots for city seats.

Murfreesboro city elections
Key election dates for 2010

Tuesday, April 20: Murfreesboro City Election for mayor, three at-large council members and three school board members

Tuesday, Aug. 5: State and national primary for governor, U.S. and Tennessee House of Representatives.
County general election for mayor, trustee, sheriff, circuit court clerk, county clerk, register of deeds, county commission, school board and road board.

Tuesday, Nov. 2: State and national general election for governor, U.S. and Tennessee House of Representatives, Eagleville City, La Vergne City and Town of Smyrna.
In April, voters will decide who will serve as mayor, along with three at-large city council seats and three city school board seats for the next four years.

The city council race attracted nine candidates. Likewise the Murfreesboro City Board of Education race has six candidates for three seats.

Even the Murfreesboro mayor race has multiple candidates with Tim Davis vying against incumbent Murfreesboro Mayor Tommy Bragg.

On the city council, incumbents David Edwards, Shane McFarland and Doug Young are running to retain their seats.

Taking them on are Madelyn Harris Scales, former city councilman Bill Shacklett, David Boyce, Thomas Moss, Mark Nobles and Brian Vaughn.

For the school board, incumbents Ray Butrum and Mary Wade have qualified to run for re-election, but David Hopper did not file for re-election. Calls for comments to Hopper have not been returned.

Former school board member Patrick McCarthy is running, as are Kevin Fisher, Eric Newell and former Murfreesboro Parks and Recreation Director Dennis Rainer.

County general elections

In the past, Democratic and Republican voters cast ballots in primaries to choose who will run for county offices.

But this year, the local parties chose to hold caucuses and save the county a little cash.

Since the Rutherford County Primary would’ve been held as a stand-alone election this year, the county would have paid around $100,000 for voting machines, precincts and poll workers.

And because both parties only have one candidate for each of the following offices – county mayor, trustee, sheriff, circuit court clerk, county clerk, register of deeds, county commission, three county school board seats and three road board seats – they decided to hold caucuses.

“We’ve only got one candidate for each position so it doesn’t make sense to have a primary …” Rutherford County Republican Party Chairman Rick Womick said. “If we had more candidates then we’d have a primary.”

Rutherford County Democratic Party Chairman Jonathon Fagan said the party chose a caucus because most of the seats open for election are uncontested on his side.

“In these tough economic times, $100,000 could save jobs in the county. And if four families’ breadwinners can be saved by us holding a caucus, that’s what we’ll do,” he said.

Neither party has set a date or time, or official procedures, for the caucuses, but they plan to vote on all the details in the coming week.

Womick said he’s been researching state caucus guidelines and knows in general what the Republican Party will do.

The Republican Caucus will have three separate steps.

First, the party will hold a delegates convention where interested individuals from each of the 48 county precincts will be selected as delegates.

Only Republicans will be eligible to be delegates at the County Convention.

The second step will be verifying delegates’ political allegiance, Womick said.

A Republican Qualifications and Oversight Committee will look at each delegate’s voting history in primaries or ask for a signed letter of commitment.

“I’ve got a guy that voted on both sides but he’s active in the party. You can be a delegate if you’ve voted in a Democratic primary,” Womick said, adding it just matters what your affiliation is now.

Fagan declined to comment on the Democrats’ caucus procedures until after the executive committee has finalized the process.

Fagan said the caucus will be held in mid- to late March and will be properly publicized.

“We’re going to get the word out and involve the public,” Womick said.

State primary and general election

By far the most contentious election of the year will be the one for the 6th Congressional District.

After Rep. Bart Gordon (D-Murfreesboro) announced his retirement, the most interest came from the Republican side of the aisle with State Sen. Diane Black, retired Maj. Gen. Dave Evans, quality control engineer John Farmer, businessman Gary Mann, businessman Kerry Roberts, state Sen. Jim Tracy and party activist Lou Ann Zelenik declaring their candidacies.

The Democrats have been quiet so far with mostly rumors about who may run.

Locally, Dixicrat George Erdel has picked up petitions to qualify as a Democrat and Justin Smith has done the same to run as a Republican.

Michelle Willard can be contacted at 615-869-0816 or
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City, Elections, RuCo, State
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Members Opinions:
January 31, 2010 at 5:01pm
thank Goodness for Lou Ann who (by the way) did *not* announce after BG’s retirement. in fact, she announced well in advance and was running radio ads against him.

She’s the best of the lot, for sure—the only small businesswoman in the race.
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