HUNTSVILLE — Even as one candidate in one key race awaited the outcome of an appeal earlier this week to find out whether he will appear on the ballot for the Aug. 2 general election in Scott County, the field was tentatively set for the looming election.
Anthony Lay, a candidate for Scott County Sheriff, awaited a decision by the state’s Peace Officer Standards and Training (P.O.S.T.) Commission to find out whether his name will appear on the ballot alongside that of incumbent Sheriff Ronnie Phillips. That decision, P.O.S.T. officials had assured Scott County Administrator of Elections Gabe Krahn, would be made by today (Thursday), which is the deadline for candidates to withdraw from the election.
Pending today’s withdrawal deadline, however, the remainder of the field is set for the election, which is now less than four months away. With three county-wide office-holders stepping into retirement, a crowd of potential successors has fueled interest in the election, and a late surge of candidates for the 14 seats on Scott County Commission will also make the ballot somewhat lengthier than it once appeared it might be.
Two of those retiring office-holders, Scott County Clerk Pat Phillips and Register of Deeds Benjie Rector, will see a number of candidates vie to fill their shoes, while a slim field will seek to replace outgoing Road Superintendent Dick Sexton.
In the clerk’s race, candidates include Felicia Hamby Bilbrey, Sandi Carson Chambers, Peggy L. Duncan, Pat Massengale, Mark Matthews and Christin Kidd Neal.
Matthews is a late arrival to the race, completing his petition in the final week of qualifying and opting against a run for re-election to the Oneida Special School District Board of Education. The remaining candidates in the race have been qualified for some time. Bilbrey is the niece of Philllips, the outgoing clerk, while Chambers is a current employee of Scott High School who has previously worked at both the Circuit Court Clerk’s office and the District Attorney General’s office. Massengale is a long-time registrar at the Scott County Health Department, while Duncan manages the Oneida Sonic and Neal is director of resource development at the Boys & Girls Club of Scott County.
A similar field has qualified to seek the seat being vacated by Rector. Kevin Bilbrey, Tim “Kemo” Garrett, Mary Duncan Hall, Stuart Jones, Ashley Newport Riseden and Chris Wilson will seek to replace Rector.
Bilbrey is an Oneida businessman, while Hall is a past employee of the register’s office who currently works out of town. Jones is a regional field representative for Samsung who managed Oneida’s Verizon retail store before that. Riseden is a current employee of the register’s office, and Wilson is employed by the Scott County Ambulance Service.
The only candidates to replace Sexton at the Scott County Road Department are current department supervisor Kelvin King and Dale Boyatt, who ran a closely-contested race against Sexton in 2014.
While Lay may or may not appear on the ballot for August’s sheriff’s election, the issue appears to be far from settled. If the P.O.S.T. Commission rejects his appeal, Lay appears to be preparing to further challenge the issue in court. Should that fail, Lay will have the option of mounting a write-in campaign. Meanwhile, Phillips — who was first elected in 2014 after being appointed by County Commission before that — has qualified for the election.
Scott County Mayor Dale Perdue faces a crowded field of challengers in the upcoming election. Among them are Oneida businessman Harold Brooks, retired Army Sgt. Michael Lloyd, current 4th District County Commissioner Rick Russ and former mayor Jeff Tibbals.
Other county-wide office-holders are seeking re-election without opposition, including Trustee Jimmy D. Byrd, Circuit Court Clerk Donnie Phillips and County Attorney John Beaty.
At the district level, the most crowded field for County Commission is in the 1st District, where incumbent David “Blue” Day is joined by challengers that include Robert “Speedy” Blevins, Randall Hamilton, Ledford Harness, Jacob Hughett, David Jeffers and Jason Jeffers.
In the 2nd District, incumbent Sam Lyles is joined by candidates Leonard Bertram, Jennifer Honeycutt Dishman, Jerried Jeffers, Don Tyndell and David Woodard.
In the 3rd District, incumbent Sheila Hall Buttram is joined on the ballot by Kenny Morrow.
In the 4th District, incumbent Kenny Chadwell is joined by Shonda Gray, James “Bud” Lackey and Fred K. Phillips.
In the 5th District, appointed incumbent Paul C. Strunk is joined on the ballot by Harold Chambers and Joe Tramell Jr.
In the 6th District, incumbent Patti Brown is joined on the ballot by Donnie Bowlin.
In the 7th District, incumbents Rick L. Burke and Mike Slaven will be opposed by Benny B. Carson and Michael W. Knight.
There are guaranteed to be at least six new commissioners after the August election, including at least one in all but the 7th District. Among those not seeking re-election are Eric Newport in the 1st District, June Jeffers in the 2nd District, Ernest Phillips in the 3rd District, Russ in the 4th District, Robyn McBroom in the 5th District and Robin Newman in the 6th District.
Among the four seats up for grabs on the Scott County Board of Education, incumbent Tommy Silcox is unopposed in the 1st District, while Johnny Russ will challenge incumbent Kimberly Ross Kidd in the 4th District. In the 5th District, incumbent Esther Abbott is opposed by Jimmy McCarroll. And, in the 7th District, Sharon Hall Marcum and Derek Sexton will seek to replace John V. Thompson Sr., who is not seeking re-election.
In Oneida, three seats are up for grabs on the Oneida Special School District Board of Education, with at least one new face guaranteed, as Matthews opted against re-election. Incumbents Floyd “Brom” Shoemaker and Dorothy Hill Watson are joined on the ballot by Shonda Duncan, Sandy West Martin and Jason Perry.