Election results in two mayoral changes


By Marisa Anders - [email protected]



Over 10,000 voters turned out in Claiborne County for the Nov. 8 election, according to a report from the Claiborne County Election Commission.

Republican Donald Trump carried Claiborne County quite handily in the presidential election, with 8,602 votes to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s 1,831 votes.

Several local items were on the ballot.

The Town of Cumberland Gap will soon have a new mayor, as incumbent Bill McGaffee did not run for another term. Neal Pucciarelli ran unopposed and received 85 votes. Three seats on the Board of Mayor and Aldermen were open and they were filled by the only three people running: Phillip Waller with 79 votes, Teresa Fuson with 75 votes and Susan Bain with 71 votes.

In the City of Harrogate, incumbent Mayor Linda Fultz ran unopposed and received 1,210 votes. Three aldermen seats were open, all unopposed: East Ward, Gary Burchett with 970 votes; West Ward, Sylvia Donahoe with 260 votes; and an unexpired term in the West Ward, Lieven Cox with 254 votes.

The City of New Tazewell’s mayoral race was a hotly contested one, with sitting mayor Phil Greer challenged by former mayor Jerry Beeler, who resigned during his term due to health reasons. Greer, who was then the vice-mayor, took the position.

Beeler came out on top with 482 votes to Greer’s 381 votes.

“We did it people. I am so grateful you believe in me and got out and voted me as your Mayor. We got some work ahead of us and I am sure gonna need y’alls help in making this the Friendliest and Cleanest Town in Tennessee again,” Beeler stated on his Jerry Beeler for Mayor 2016 Facebook page. “Thank you for all your support, your trust and your belief in me to take care of you and New Tazewell.”

Two aldermen seats were unopposed, one in Ward 1, in which (Andy) Samuel Duncan received 676 votes and one in Ward 3, in which Jeff Lewis received 688 votes.

Ward 2 had one seat open and Nita Louthan was unseated by Franklin Essary. Louthan received 313 votes to Essary’s 494 votes. Essary previously served as an alderman until he was defeated by Charles Brooks during the last city election.

New Tazewell’s Consumption on the Premises Referendum for “legal sale of alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises in City of New Tazewell” received 503 “for” votes and 336 “yes” votes.

In the City of Tazewell, the mayoral race was contested as well. Incumbent Wayne Jessie was narrowly defeated with 328 votes to Bill Fannon’s 358 votes.

“Thank you to the voters of the City of Tazewell in electing me your next Mayor! Now the work begins to return the city to the people. We will work hard to return Tazewell to a clean and safe place to live, work and raise your family,” stated Fannon on his Facebook page. “Please feel free to contact me at any time to discuss the future of our city.”

There were four aldermen seats open and all four were unopposed. In Ward 1, Don Smith kept his seat while Hannah DeBusk was elected to serve the unexpired term. In Ward 2, Johnny H. Ramsey fills a seat and in Ward 3 Benny Enix remains seated.

Tazewell had a Wine at Retail Food Stores Referendum on the ballot, and 427 people voted for the “legal sale of wine at retail food stores in the City of Tazewell while 210 voted against it.

On the state front, there were only three items on the ballot.

Longtime Congressman John J. Duncan Jr., a Republican, defeated Stuart Starr, a Democrat, with 8,309 votes to Starr’s 1,485 votes in Claiborne County. Duncan won the overall race handily.

The Tennessee Senate’s 8th Senatorial District will be unchanged, with Republican Frank Niceley unopposed. He received 8,039 votes in Claiborne County. Republican incumbent Jerry Sexton remains seated in the Tennessee House of Representatives 35th District. Sexton received 8,360 votes in Claiborne County. Both Niceley and Sexton won their overall races as well.

All results were unofficial until Nov. 17, when they were certified by the Claiborne County Election Commission.

Reach Marisa Anders at 423-254-5588 or on Twitter @newsgirl88.

By Marisa Anders

[email protected]

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