City Councilman Toby Gilley vaulted past General Sessions Judge Larry Brandon to win an eight-year term on the bench, and local attorney Barry Tidwell eased past longtime General Sessions Judge David Loughry Thursday to capture a first term.
Gilley, a local attorney and Republican candidate, garnered 19,750 votes, 66.8 percent, for General Sessions Judge, Part III, to 9,770, 33.1 percent for Brandon, a Democratic candidate. That part of General Sessions handles civil cases.
“I’m humbled by the responsibility the voters have entrusted in me,” said Gilley, who was defeated by Brandon in the Democratic primary for the same post in 2006.
Gilley said he plans to work with the General Sessions Court when he takes the post at the end of August to determine what processes are working and which ones might need to be changed.
“General Sessions is truly the people’s court,” he said. “I want to make the people who come in to feel like it’s their courtroom. Even though I’ll be making decisions, every taxpayer that comes in that room is my boss and will be treated with dignity and respect.”
Gilley will have to step down from the Murfreesboro City Council once he takes the judge’s post. He wasn’t sure what process the council would use to replace him.
Tidwell, the Republican candidate, unseated Loughry, a 24-year judge, by winning 14,767 votes, 52.7 percent, to 13,190, 47.1 percent, for General Sessions Judge, Part II.
Tidwell said he is honored to be elected and thanked Loughry for his 24 years of “dedicated service” to the judiciary.
“I look forward to working with Judge McFarlin and Judge Gilley in making sure that the Rutherford County General Sessions Courts continue to run efficiently and continue to be courts where fairness and impartiality rule the day,” Tidwell said.
Loughry, who ran as an Independent, said he appreciated those who backed his campaign.
“I love this county and wouldn’t live anywhere else,” he said. “I got to serve 24 years, and that’s a great thing.”
Tidwell could not be reached for comment Friday.
Incumbents held on in other judicial races.
Independent Ben Hall McFarlin, 17,372 votes, 60 percent, defeated Smyrna attorney Kevin Hodges, a Republican, 11,541 votes, 39 percent, to retain his seat.
Independent Mark Rogers, the sitting Circuit Court Judge in Division I, beat out Jeff Peach, a Republican who serves as Smyrna Town attorney, by 15,911, 54.6 percent, to 13,162, 45.2 percent.
Independent David Bragg, the sitting Circuit Court Judge in Division II, topped Nathan Nichols, a Republican working as an assistant district attorney, 15,557, 54.9 percent, to 12,755, 45 percent.
Circuit Court Judge, Division III, Keith Siskin, a Republican, Circuit Court Judge, Division IV, Royce Taylor, an Independent, and Juvenile Court Judge Donna Davenport, a Republican, were unopposed. Howard Wilson, who captured the Republican primary for the chancellor in May, also was unopposed in the general election.