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Election season in Rutherford County

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Rutherford County voters will help choose a congressman and state senator and decide four House seats in the Nov. 8 election.

Early voting is underway at seven sites across Rutherford County, with 12,777 people casting ballots on the first two days of voting. Races will be decided the second Tuesday in November.

Political newcomer Steven Reynolds, a Murfreesboro Democrat, is trying unseat Republican U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais, a South Pittsburg physician, in Tennessee's 4th Congressional District.

In legislative races, Republicans hold the upper hand as incumbents in four of five races.

Longtime Republican political operative Tim Rudd, a local real estate agent, is faced off against Democratic candidate Laura Bohling in the race to fill the 34th District House seat being vacated by Rep. Rick Womick, a Rockvale Republican.

In House District 37, two-term incumbent Republican Dawn White, a former Murfreesboro teacher, is being challenged by retired Rutherford County Schools teacher Becky Goff in what could be one of the county's tightest legislative races.

Three-term Republican state Rep. Mike Sparks of Smyrna is pitted against Democrat Brandon Thomas in District 49, and first-term state Republican state Rep. Bryan Terry is matched up against Democratic newcomer Justin Miller in District 48.

Sam Stockard may be reached at sstockard44@gmail.com.

U.S. House of Representatives District 4

Republican: Rep. Scott DesJarlais, 52

Residence: South Pittsburg, local office, 305 W. Main St.

Career: Physician

Education: University of South Dakota, medical degree

Politics: Three terms in Congress

Outlook: Noted as the fourth most conservative member of Congress by the National Journal and a member of the powerful House Freedom Caucus, DesJarlais said he is seeking to continue pushing a fiscally conservative agenda to combat runaway federal spending while ensuring a strong national security plan that includes rebuilding our depleted military, securing our borders and projecting American strength abroad.

Democrat: Steven Reynolds, 46

Residence: Gevena Drive, Murfreesboro

Career: Construction and rock-crushing industries

Education: Attended MTSU

Politics: Newcomer

Outlook: I'm running to give the people of Tennessee a choice this November, and we're trying to restore decency and honor back to Washington, D.C. I just hope voters have noted we have not polluted their living rooms or mailboxes with negative advertising this fall. If we're ever going to change Washington, D.C., we have to change the type of people we send there.

State Senate District 14

Republican: Sen. Jim Tracy, 60

Residence: Horseshoe Court, Shelbyville

Career: Insurance agent

Education: University of Tennessee at Martin, bachelor's degree

Politics: Three terms in state Senate

Campaign finance: In the latest period, Tracy reported $210,833 on hand, $2,100 in receipts and $27,439 in expenditures.

Outlook: The state of Tennessee is recognized as the best managed state in the nation with the lowest debt per capita because of strong conservative leadership. We are adding more jobs than any other state in the nation as policies we have put into place over the last several years are yielding results for our citizens. I am very humbled to have been a part of this effort as state senator for the 14th District and am asking the citizens of Rutherford, Bedford, Lincoln, Marshall and Moore counties for their vote to continue this forward momentum.

Democrat: Gayle Jordan, 55

Residence: East Pitts Lane, Murfreesboro

Career: Small farmer, attorney

Education: University of Georgia, bachelor's degree, Concord Law School (California), licensed to practice federal law after passing California bar exam.

Politics: Newcomer

Campaign finance: In the latest period, Jordan reported $3,905 on hand, $5,669 in receipts and $6,216 in expenditures. She has a loan of $500.

Outlook: My candidacy has been an effort to educate those living in District 14, as well as the larger audience of voters, to the problems and irresponsibility in our state budget shown by the current legislature, the lack of support for our teachers (despite claims to the contrary), the need for improved infrastructure that is too easily put aside, and the need for discussions to bring appropriate health care to all of our citizens.

State House District 34

Republican: Tim Rudd, 56

Residence: Islington Drive, Murfreesboro

Career: Real estate agent, direct mail consulting company owner, Square D

Education: Attended MTSU, Cumberland University

Politics: Tennessee Republican Party Executive Committee member

Campaign financing: In the latest quarter, Rudd reported $14,561 on hand, $12,525 in receipts and $12,022 in expenditures. He had a self-endorsed loan balance of $9,738.

Outlook: After helping both other candidates and the Republican Party behind the scenes for over 32 years, it is very humbling and enlightening to be a candidate myself. If I'm fortunate enough to be elected the next state representative for the 34th District, I will do my best to address the needs of my district and uphold the conservative principles and ideas I've campaigned on.

Democrat: Laura Bohling, 49

Residence: Mallow Drive, Christiana

Career: 4Patriots project coordinator, Rutherford County Clerk 2010-14

Education: Attending Grand Canyon University seeking bachelor's degree in applied management

Politics: Elected as a Republican, she served one term as Rutherford County Clerk

Campaign finance: In the latest quarter, Bohling reported a beginning balance of $2,117, $2,442 in receipts and $3,502 in expenditures. She had a self-endorsed loan balance of $1,397.

Outlook: I am grateful to have been welcomed by the Democrats of the county and state as I embarked on this candidacy for District 34 state rep. I appreciate the ability to bring ideas and solutions for all of the 62,000 residents. In every case, those I've talked with are concerned about higher paying jobs, fully funding our public education systems and fixing our insurance problems in Tennessee.

State House District 37

Republican: Rep. Dawn White, 41

Residence: Riverview Drive, Murfreesboro

Career: Small business owner, former Murfreesboro City Schools teacher

Education: MTSU, bachelor's, master's and specialist in education degrees

Politics: Two terms in state House of Representatives

Campaign finance: In the latest period, White reported a beginning balance of $84,742, $14,799 in contributions and $4,714 in expenditures.

Outlook: As a result of Republican leadership, Tennessee is moving in the right direction. Tennessee's economy is improving, new businesses are moving here and existing businesses are expanding. Tennessee was also recently recognized as having the fastest improving schools in the nation. I know that we can keep moving our state forward by applying common sense and conservative principles to the decisions we make.

Democrat: Becky Goff, 58

Residence: Gold Valley Drive, Murfreesboro

Career: Rutherford County Schools teacher

Education: Tennessee Tech bachelor's, master's and education specialist degrees

Politics: Newcomer

Campaign finance: In the latest quarter, Goff reported $18,046 in beginning balance, $4,742 in contributions and $3,506 in expenditures. She had a self-endorsed loan of $1,859.

Outlook: My campaign is for the hardworking citizens of Rutherford County. I will not sell out Rutherford County residents to special interest groups. I will strive to have a working communication with my local government as well as my constituents.

State House District 48

Republican: Rep. Bryan Terry, 47

Residence: Black Fox Court, Murfreesboro

Career: Anesthesiologist

Education: Residency, UT-Knoxville, Oklahoma College of Medicine, M.D., University of Oklahoma, bachelor's degree

Politics: One term in state House

Campaign finance: In the latest quarter, Terry reported a $63,919 beginning balance, $11,850 in contributions and $2,248 in expenditures. He has an outstanding self-endorsed loan balance of $37,500.

Outlook: As a community and outreach-oriented candidate and legislator, I've helped our citizens have a positive voice at the Capitol and have an impact on our community and state including issues like the landfill, school textbooks, healthcare and closing judicial loopholes. I was awarded Legislator of the Year, Taxpayer Hero and Family Champion while also serving as co-chairman of the bipartisan Freshman Caucus. I've been endorsed by a wide variety of groups including the NFIB, NRA, Tennessee Professional Firefighters and the Tennessee State Employees Association. As a proven, effective voice by and for the people of District 48, I'm running to continue to build upon the progress that we, as a community, have made for our district, state and the future of our next generation.

Democrat: Justin Miller, 30

Residence: Barrett's Ridge Drive, Murfreesboro

Career: Horse health company purchasing agent

Education: MTSU, bachelor's degree

Politics: Newcomer

Campaign finance: In the latest period, Miller reported $310 on hand, $4,072 in contributions and expenditures of $3,249.

Outlook: Since April, my campaign has been about the people of Rutherford County and addressing issues such as education, ensuring equal rights for all Tennesseans and working to insure those who fall in the health-care coverage gap. As a lifelong resident of Rutherford County, I've witnessed the phenomenal growth that we have been blessed with, but we have to start taking steps to prepare ourselves for more growth. We have to start addressing our crumbling infrastructure, work to create an economic environment where both employees and employers can thrive and grow, and stop introducing discriminatory legislation which stands to drive business always as such legislation has in North Carolina. All I want is a state government and local representation that stands for all Tennesseans, regardless of age, race, gender, orientation, political party affiliation or socioeconomic status.

State House District 49

Republican: Mike Sparks, 49

Residence: Woodland Drive, Smyrna

Career: Business owner, consultant, author

Education: MTSU, Motlow State Community College, Volunteer State Community College EMT

Politics: Three terms in state House, former Rutherford County commissioner

Campaign finance: In the latest quarter, Sparks reported a beginning balance of $23,132, $4,000 in contributions and $9,211 in expenditures.

Outlook: Throughout my 14 years of community service, I've learned that a statesman serves others and people have a deep desire for freedom. Freedom to choose, freedom from excessive taxes, regulations and more government adversely impacting their lives. .... Our once great nation has lost its way and I blame much of it on leadership and even my own Republican Party, many of whom would rather host a country club fundraiser than make a difference. The title, pawn and payday loan industry has bought many a politician, it's pure evil and excessive usury; the fatherless rate is over 70 percent in the black community and the NAACP is silent; Tennessee has a drug epidemic; our college students have amassed over $1.4 trillion in tuition debt and growing. The United States has amassed over $20 trillion in debt; the whole system is unsustainable. We can't continue to legislate and incarcerate our ways out of problems - I will always be the guy who will ask "Why?"

Democrat: Brandon Thomas, 27

Residence: Scenic Drive, Murfreesboro

Education: MTSU bachelor's degree

Politics: Political campaign volunteer for Iowa Caucuses and past Democratic candidates Ben Leming and David LaRoche

Campaign Finance: In the latest quarter, Thomas reported a beginning balance of $1,251, contributions of $1,531 and $556 in expenditures.

Outlook: My campaign and my candidacy is about bringing back Volunteer spirit to our state legislature. It is about ensure everyone in our district is listened to and has a voice at the state Capitol. It is about helping working families get ahead by increasing the minimum wage, passing Insure Tennessee, and creating a more welcoming environment for all Tennesseans.

Eagleville City Council: Alan Ball, Chris Hendrix, John Marshall

La Vergne Board of Mayor and Alderman: Matt Church, Jason Cole, Calvin Jones, Kathy Tyson

Smyrna Town Council: Bradley Austin, Dennis Johnson, Tim Morrell, Robert "Bob" New, Racquel Peebles, Steve Sullivan, Michelle Mastin Wesnofske

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