There were no real upsets in the trustee, commissioner, or sheriff primary election races, but a few were pretty close.
Up until about half of the precincts reported their votes, trustee candidates Craig Leuthold (who was appointed last summer when John Duncan III resigned) and Ed Shouse (who's currently a term-limited County Commissioner) were neck and neck with about 40 percent of the vote each. But as more precincts tallied the votes, Shouse pulled away, and ended up with 46 percent of the vote, while Leuthold had 38 percent, and Barry Hawkins took 15 percent of the vote.
Shouse was a bit late to the Republicans' party, but expressed his thanks to everyone who supported him throughout the primary campaign.
"And those of you who supported Craig and Barry, I hope you take a look at my qualifications and support me," he said.
He also mentioned Democrat Jim Berrier, with whom he'll face off in the general election in August.
"There's a Democrat out there. I don't know how good he is," Shouse said, "But I think a 'D' usually means they're dead."
Most of the Knox County Republican candidates running in the primaries last night at least made an appearance at the county party's election-night soiree at the Crowne Plaza downtown, though the crowd began to thin a bit around 9 p.m. Ed Brantley, who will serve as an at-large County Commissioner, spoke around that time. He beat out Michele Carringer for the seat with 57 percent of the vote to Carringer's 42 percent, and said the campaign had felt like going back to school.
"But today, I graduated. Starting today, I have a job--a new job," the longtime talk radio host said.
We didn't see Carringer at the party.
Charles Busler won the County Commission District 7 seat with 60 percent of the vote against Bo Bennett's 40 percent. Randy Smith won the District 3 seat with 66 percent of the vote against Billy Stephens' 33 percent.
Bob Thomas, another former radio broadcaster, will represent District 10, though he didn't have any competition during this primary.
And Knox County voters once again elected Jimmy "J.J." Jones as sheriff. He got a whopping 57 percent of the vote, while Bobby Waggoner received 35 percent of the votes, and Sam Hammett received 7 percent.
Waggoner started the evening out optimistically. Surrounded by his children and grandchildren (he said having them all there "makes you feel good") at the Hilton Inn downtown, Waggoner shook hands left and right for the better part of an hour. He said he'd spent the day campaigning, and didn't really know how to feel going into the election, saying, "I'm kind of numb."
But by 9 p.m., Waggoner and his family conceded the loss.
"Nobody likes to lose," he said. "But we brought out a lot of issues, and hopefully the sheriff makes some changes."