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Fall leaves harken election season in Johnson County

By Tate Davis
Freelance Writer

Old Timers say the secret to a good harvest next year is planning now. It’s mountain wisdom that isn’t limited to farming. Election Day may seem far off, but the seeds of many 2022 campaigns will be sown at upcoming holiday gatherings.
Historically, candidates honed their stump speeches at socials over the short days when farm work slowed down. Contenders for the 2022 county general elections must qualify by April 7 at noon. As summer approaches, expect debates and other community events with candidates tilling for votes. We’ll have to see how the pandemic affects the customary handshakes of past seasons. Early voting for county offices will take place July 15-30, 2022.
Many folks prefer casting their ballots on election day, which will be August 4, 2022. Results are traditionally announced at a public gathering on the Courthouse lawn after the polls close.
That event recalls the rich agricultural conventions of Johnson County, known as “The Green Bean Capital of the World” back in the 1950s. The Bean Festival took place in August on Main Street in Mountain City. Such was its prominence that contestants for Bean Festival Queen in both 1953 and 1955 were judged by a select in-person panel:
The Commissioners of Agriculture for Virginia and North Carolina, along with Tennessee’s own Buford Ellington. Talented cultivator that he was, Ellington was probably already planning his run for Governor. He was elected in 1959 and again in 1967.
In addition to electing the County Mayor, Johnson Countians will choose the General Sessions/Juvenile Court Judge; Sheriff; Circuit Court Clerk; County Trustee; County Clerk; Register of Deeds; and Road Superintendent. Precincts will elect Commissioners and Constables, with some also picking School Board members. Judicial district, state and federal offices ranging from Circuit Court Judge to US Congress will also be on the ballot next year.
The Tomahawk reached out to several incumbents and confirmed that Sheriff Eddie Tester, Circuit Court Clerk Melissa Hollaway, Trustee Lisa Crowder and Register of Deeds Freida Gwinn are seeking reelection. County Clerk Tammie Fenner recently announced her campaign on social media and said, “What I love most about my job is the opportunity to help people.” It was a sentiment shared by Ms. Gwinn, who said, “I appreciate the opportunity to serve our county and am blessed with a job I love
to do.” Tester said he’s asking, “for the opportunity to serve as Sheriff for another term.”
Circuit Court Clerk Hollaway said, “I have made many positive changes
and plan on continuing to bring the office up to
date with launching a website soon where folks can
go online and view court cases, court dates and pay online.”
Times have changed and the Bean Capital pageantry is history, but the traditional start of Election Season is upon us.