Two fewer names on spring ballots
The list of candidates in the upcoming municipal elections has proved fluid up until now, as one Pigeon Forge commission challenger withdrew and the election commission could not certify a Sevierville alderman candidate because he did not get the required number of signatures from registered voters.
In Pigeon Forge, Kris Ogle had submitted a petition but submitted a letter last week asking that the election commission withdraw her name from the ballot. Candidates have several days after the qualifying deadline to remove their names from the ballots.
When the election commission reviewed petitions from the Sevierville candidates, they determined Vincent Snider did not have enough verified signatures from registered voters.
Snider needed to have signatures from 25 registered voters from the city, officials said. While the number of signatures on his petition exceeded that, some were from people who lived outside the city or could not be counted for other reasons, officials said.
Ogle's withdrawal from the Pigeon Forge election means six candidates will be seeking three seats in an at large election. Incumbents Randal Robinson, Joyce Brackins and Kevin McClure are running for re-election, while Don Denney, Jess Davis and Jay Ogle will be challenging them. The Pigeon Forge election is set for May 14.
In Sevierville, Mayor Bryan Atchley is unopposed while incumbent Maxine Ownby is seeking a full term in the seat once held by her late husband, Claude Ownby. Dale Carr’s term is ending, but he has since won a seat in the state House of Representatives. Robbie Fox and Jim McGill, along with Ownby, round out the field of three candidates seeking the two at-large seats for aldermen. The election there is set for May 2.
In Gatlinburg, incumbent commissioners Don Smith and Mark McCown are unopposed in their bids for re-election. That election is set for May 21.
Now that the commission has certified the petitions, each candidate's name will remain on the ballot even if he or she decides to withdraw from the election in the meantime. Election commissioners noted that Pigeon Forge City Commission candidate Jess Davis indicated in an ad that ran in the Mountain Press that he would withdraw from the election, close his business and move out of the city if voters approve liquor by the drink when they reconsider a referendum on that topic on March 14.
That matter is being reconsidered after Concerned Churches and Citizens of Pigeon Forge, an organization chaired by Davis, successfully challenged the vote in the November election.
The election commission eventually acknowledged that errors by workers allowed nearly 300 people from outside the city to cast improper votes on the municipal ballot.
Also Tuesday, the election commission indicated it would not charge the City of Pigeon Forge for the hours worked by election officials in the revote.
Election Commissioner Darrell Whitchurch was not present for Tuesday's meeting; he has resigned from the position because he's moving out of the country.