Seven years ago, two of Scott County’s best-known lawmen died untimely and shocking deaths in the same year. On Thursday, their sons were elected to constable positions in Scott County on the same night.
Tyler Cross won the 6th District constable’s race on Thursday, while Tanner Boshears won in the 7th District. Seven years ago, the community was rocked — twice — by the surprising deaths of their fathers. In April 2013, Tennessee Highway Patrol Sgt. Brian Boshears died of pneumonia at the age of 50. Just a little more than seven months later, Sheriff Mike Cross died of cancer at the age of 56.
Both of their sons followed their footsteps into law enforcement, and on Thursday were elected constable in neighboring districts.
Their respective runs for constable doesn’t mark a new arrival to law enforcement for either of the two men; they’re coworkers at the Scott County Sheriff’s Office where both have served as deputies for the past several years.
In fact, their election was part of a larger, coordinated effort by local law enforcement officers to have lawmen elected to each of the county’s constable positions. It was largely successful, but Cross and Boshears just happened to be the only two who faced opposition.
In Oneida proper, Cross out-polled Randall Duncan — the nephew of Chuck Duncan, who was constable in the 6th District when he died on New Years Eve at the age of 69 — by a final tally of 136-124. Duncan narrowly won the Election Day vote, 50-49, but Cross had the lead in early voting.
In West Oneida, Boshears defeated multi-term incumbent Anthony Carson, 229-173.
By the end of the night, certified law enforcement officers held six of the county’s seven constable offices. The lone exception was in the 2nd District, where there was no one on the ballot.
In the 1st District, Joe “Buster” Marlow — who tragically lost his mother in a car accident just a week earlier — received 212 votes as the only candidate on the ballot.
In the 3rd District, Scott County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Chris Russell was the only candidate and received 240 votes.
In the 4th District, Sheriff’s Department Chief Detective Dennis Chambers received 281 votes.
In the 5th District, Oneida Police Department Officer Chad Jones received 228 votes.
Terry wins school board race
There will be a new face on the Scott County Board of Education when it convenes in September.
Carlene Jeffers Terry won election in the 2nd District on Thursday, defeating incumbent Diane Chambers Smith — who had followed in the footsteps of her father, JD Chambers, by being elected to the school board, by a margin of 230-190.
Smith held a razor-thin, one-vote lead among voters who went to the polls in person during the early voting period, but Terry had a decided advantage among absentee voters, and had a 153-124 advantage on Election Day.
The race was the only one of three county school board races that was contested in Thursday’s election. In the 3rd District, incumbent Linda J. Sharp was unopposed and received 288 votes. In the 6th District, incumbent Llew Stanley was unopposed and received 256 votes.
In the Oneida Special School District, incumbents Dr. Danny W. Cross and Dr. Nancy K. Williamson were unopposed and won re-election with 263 votes and 221 votes, respectively.
It’s all Hagerty in Scott County, across Tennessee
Scott County voted for President Donald Trump by the second-largest margin of any county in Tennessee in 2016, with more than 8 in 10 voters casting their ballots for the Republican candidate. So, when Trump threw his weight behind former ambassador Bill Hagerty in the Republican primary for the U.S. Senate, it was perhaps no surprise that Scott County responded to his call.
Hagerty easily out-polled his chief challenger, Dr. Manny Sethi, in Thursday’s primary, winning 61% of the vote in Scott County. Sethi received just 34%.
It didn’t take long after the polls closed and returns began trickling in for Hagerty to be projected to win the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate, but he won by a much smaller margin statewide than in Scott County. With 86% of precincts reporting at 11 p.m. Thursday evening, Hagerty had 51% of the vote to Sethi’s 40%.
Sethi, a trauma surgeon at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, was running an upstart campaign, and billed it as “Manny vs. the Machine.” Hagerty — who was a member of former Gov. Bill Haslam’s cabinet in Tennessee and a longtime Republican operative before being appointed by Trump as ambassador to Japan — had all the name recognition. Still, it felt like momentum was on Sethi’s side, until Hagerty began playing up Trump’s endorsement in the latter stages of the race. Voters were shellacked with “robocalls” from Trump and U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., among other high-ranking Republicans.
On the Democrat side, Marqurita Bradshaw won the right to oppose Hagerty in November, though she will be a longshot candidate. Bradshaw — a black activist and environmentalist — upset the Democratic establishment to win, both in Scott County and across the state. She captured 28% of the vote in Scott County. Statewide, she had 35%. James Mackler, the establishment-backed candidate, finished with 24% of the vote locally, but was a distant third overall with 86% of precincts reporting late Thursday.
All other primary races were unopposed. In the TN-03 House of Representatives race, incumbent Chuck Fleischmann received 1,692 courtesy votes from Scott County Republicans. Democrat Meg Gorman, who will face him in November, received 170 votes locally.
In Tennessee’s 12th Senate District, incumbent Ken Yager received 1,763 Republican votes locally. There was no candidate on the Democratic ballot.
In the 38th State House District, incumbent Kelly Keisling received 1,782 votes locally in the Republican primary. His challenger, Carol Abney, received 166 votes in the Democratic primary.