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Local candidates fight to represent District 3

By Meg Dickens
Staff Writer

In an effort to share details on their views and ask for local support, State Representative candidates Neal Kerney and Scotty Campbell signed up to speak at the Johnson County Commission meeting on Thursday, June 18. Both 2020 Republican candidates are conservatives with strong ties to Johnson County that boast of experiences that could prove valuable to the post. 

Former State Representative Timothy Hill was from Blountville but stayed involved in Johnson County after his election in 2012. Examples include supporting Johnson County Schools’ robotics teams and attending local events. Now either Kerney or Campbell will take his place and become Johnson County’s new voice.


Scotty Campbell
Scotty Campbell is a Johnson County native and former State Representative. Other than government work, Campbell also worked in EMS (Emergency Medical Services), the Johnson County Rescue Squad, and as a radio show personality for the Tri-cities. Campbell emphasized his long-term contributions to the area to the commissioners.

“I have volunteered for many years with Johnson County Rescue Squad,
EMS, and three volunteer fire departments in Johnson County,” said candidate Campbell. “I didn’t have 2020 on my calendar as being a candidate, but there were so many people that came forward and asked me to be a candidate in the Republican primary.”


Neal Kerney
Neal Kerney is from Kingsport, but his wife Sandra is a fifth-generation Butler resident. Kerney has experience as a small business owner, University Tennessee football player, and a soldier. He was also the Detachment Commander for the Trade and Mountain City National Guard Armory during the mid-1990s. One asset he mentioned when addressing the County Commission was his security clearance.

“I know many of you, and it is my sincere desire that tonight will be the beginning of a long relationship instead of a quick breakup,” said candidate Kerney. “If you wonder how I’m going to fight for Johnson County in Nashville, my friends, I have defended freedom abroad to maintain our freedom, rights, and serve to apply for our fair share here at home.“


Both candidates have experience with high-pressure situations and staying calm during crises. They also share several beliefs in common such as supporting pro-life and second amendment policies. Whoever wins the race will represent District Three, which includes Johnson County and parts of Carter and Sullivan Counties.

Tennessee State Representatives cover approximately 64,102 residents on average. For reference, census data shows that Johnson County holds about 17,788 residents, and Mountain City holds slightly below 2,400 residents.

The Republican Primary will be on August 6, and early voting starts July 17. For more information on the upcoming election, contact the Johnson County Election Commission at (423) 727-8592, view jctnvote.com, or email [email protected]