By Jill Penley
The August 6, 2020 election, which served as Johnson County’s General Election as well as party primary elections for state and federal offices, saw a total of 3,587 of Johnson County’s 10,364 registered voters who cast ballots in the election, for a voter turnout rate of 34.61 percent. There was a crowded field seeking the District 1 race for the U.S. House of Representatives, a seat being vacated by Republican Rep. Phil Roe, who chose not to seek a seventh term.
Although Johnson County overwhelmingly chose Timothy Hill to fill the seat with 58% of the local vote, Kingsport pharmacist Diana Harshbarger came out on top with 19 percent of the overall vote in Tennessee Congressional District 1, which includes all of Carter, Cocke, Greene, Hamblen, Hancock, Hawkins, Johnson, Sullivan, Unicoi and Washington counties and parts of Jefferson and Sevier counties. Harshbarger will face Democratic nominee Blair Walsingham and independent candidate Steve Holder in the November 3rd general election.
Bill Hagerty, Former U.S. Ambassador to Japan, won the Tennessee Republican primary for the U.S. Senate seat of retiring Sen. Lamar Alexander. Hagerty also won the vote in Johnson County, taking 57.67 percent of the vote in a crowded field, followed by Dr. Manny Sethi, a Nashville trauma surgeon, who received 29.96 percent in Johnson County votes. Hagerty will face Democratic nominee Marquita Bradshaw and several independent candidates in the general election on November 3rd. In Tennessee Senate District 4, Sen Jon C. Lundberg ran unopposed.
Johnson County’s own Scotty Campbell won the Republican primary in Tennessee House District 3, a seat vacated by Rep. Timothy Hill, who chose to run for U.S. House of Representatives, District 1. In Johnson County, Campbell received 74.45% of the vote over challenger Neal Kerney. District 3 includes all of Johnson County and part of Carter and Sullivan counties. Campbell, who was elected as representative of District 3 in 2010 and chose against running for re-election, will run unopposed in the November 3rd general election. He received 73.5% of the overall vote.
“I’m honored to be the Republican nominee for Tennessee House of Representatives for District 3,” said Campbell. “Now, let’s go on to Tuesday, November 3, and let’s win there.”
Campbell reminds everyone that early voting begins October 14 and continues through October 29, 2020. “I have already started calling Nashville,” said Campbell, “asking for a new boat ramp in Johnson County.”
The ballot’s local offices included Road Superintendent, Assessor of Property, and School Board District 2, which represents Forge/Shouns, Trade, Neva, and Mountain City. Jeff Wagner, who ran unopposed, was elected as Road Superintendent taking 99.74 percent of the vote, while Matthew J. Lewis, who also ran unopposed, was re-elected as Assessor of Property.
Only two school board seats, representing District 2, were on the ballot in this election. Incumbents Jo Ann Matheson Reece and Mike Payne retained their seats receiving 26.53 percent and 23.67 percent, respectively. They were challenged by Charlie Thompson, who received 20.24 percent of the votes, and Joan T. Arnold, with 15.73 percent. Kimberly Kay Kleine received 319 votes as a write-in candidate.