You’ve probably noticed the hundreds of political signs that have popped up throughout the area, and indeed it’s that election time again.
The signs you see are for an election that happens just a little more than a month away on Aug. 2.
This election is a combined State Primary and County General election, as well as a municipal election. What this means is voters will need to declare a primary they want to vote for.
For instance, you can decide to vote in the Republican Primary or the Democratic Primary, but not both. And if you don’t declare either, then you’ll only be given a ballot that shows the County General election information.
Voting in either primary does not mean you’re a member of that party and voters often switch to vote in a heated race for one of the party primaries.
The most talked about primary in either party involves the 3rd Congressional District.
Running for Congress in the Republican Primary for 3rd District are Ron Bhalla, Chuck Fleischmann, Scottie Mayfield, and Weston Wamp. (Fleischmann is the incumbent.)
Running for Congress in the Democratic Primary for 3rd District are Mary Headrick and Bill Taylor.
Running as an independent is Matthew Deniston.
A race that has seen little media attention is the race for U.S. Senate.
Running for U.S. Senate in the Republican Primary are Fred Anderson, Mark Twain Clemens, Bob Corker, Brenda Lenard, and Zach Poskevich. (Corker is the incumbent.)
Running for U.S. Senate in the Democratic Primary are Mark Clayton, Larry Crim, Gary Gene Davis, Dave Hancock, Park Overall, T. K. Owens, and Benjamin Roberts.
Running as independents for the U.S. Senate seat are Shaun Crowell, David Gatchell, James Higdon, Michel Joseph Long, and Troy Stephen Scoggin.
Moving away from Congress and the Senate to local seats, there are three county elections that matter. (Residents will be able to vote in these regardless of which primary they choose.)
The biggest race involves the race for Anderson County Mayor.
Republican Terry Frank is facing Democrat Warren Gooch. This vote will determine who replaces the Myron Iwanski, who’s serving as interim county mayor.
Iwanski, who pledged not to run for mayor as part of the reasoning that he should be elected interim, is running against Buzz Patrick for the District 8 County Commission seat that he once held. (Patrick was appointed to that seat after Iwanski was appointed as mayor.) Their district is primarily on the east end of Oak Ridge, in the neighborhoods of Emory Valley, Woodland, and Hendrix Creek.
In Oak Ridge, two candidates are running for a single seat on City Council. Trina Baughn is running against Chuck Hope for the Council seat. Hope is the incumbent, having been appointed by City Council to fill the seat of former Council member Tom Hayes. (Hayes’s term was extended beyond four years due to a change in the city charter that resulted from the most recent Charter Commission.)
One final county general election race is for the Property Assessor’s office. Republican John Alley and Democrat Rick Marlowe are running for this seat.
(There is a state house election in August, but Republican John Ragan and Democrat Jim Hackworth face no opponents in their party primary. These two will face each other in November. In addition, there are two Anderson County School Board seats up for election, both located in Oak Ridge, but neither face opposition.)
Early voting for the August 2 election begins Friday, July 13, and ends Saturday, July 28.
If you’re over 60 years old, you can vote by mail with an absentee ballot. This is a new law – it used to be you needed to be 65. July 26, is the last day a written request for absentee ballot may be received for the August election.
And if you haven’t registered to vote, or you’ve moved and your address has changed, then you have until July 3 to register.
In order to vote by mail, a voter must meet certain legal qualifications and submit their application in writing. For more information on this or other questions you may have, visit www.acelect.com. This is the website for the Anderson County Election Commission. If you lack internet access or would prefer to talk with someone, you can call them at (865) 457-6238.
Next week, The Observer will have more in depth coverage of the candidates in several of these races.