By THOMAS P. WEAVER
CLAY COUNTY-After a relatively quiet period leading up to this year’s August election, candidates vying for local, state, and federal positions are sure to pick up their campaigning pace as early voting is set to begin in just over a week.
A notice from the county election commission announced polls will open Friday, July 13 at the county election office here at 145 Cordell Hull Drive in Celina and will remain open for early voting through Saturday, July 28.
Early voters can cast their ballots weekdays (Monday-Friday) from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.–with the exception of 30 minutes from 12-12:30 p.m. when the office will be closed for lunch, and on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 12 noon.
The commission has also published a sample ballot in the July 4 edition of the HORIZON on page 2A.
As announced earlier this spring, the race for property assessor between the three-term incumbent and political newcomer Stephen Melton will headline the August 2 election, but school board races in both District 1 and 4 will also draw interest from voters here.
District 1 incumbents Anthony and Annette Smith are both making re-election bids, but like the incumbent property assessor, they will also have challengers. Lance Cherry and Chris McLerran have filed their papers to compete for the two seats up for grab in the district.
Longtime District 4 school board member Richard “Dickie” Roberts is running again, but his fellow incumbent, Heather Hammock, is not seeking re-election. Roberts, along with newcomers Benji Bailey and Vonda Weir, will vie for the two available seats in the district.
Two other local seats are open, but only one has a candidate running. The District 5 constable seat is set to be filled because of an unexpired term left open by the former office-holder, and it has one candidate, Billy “Cornbread” Maxwell running, while no papers were filed for the open District 2 constable seat.
Besides the local races, voters here will also see primary battles for a U.S. Senate seat, a U.S. House seat, and a State Representative seat on the ballot.
One of the two U.S. Senate seats in Tennessee–which is currently held by Senator Bob Corker, the Tennessee District 6 U.S. Representative seat now held by Congressman Diane Black, and the District 38 State Representative seat held by Kelly Keisling will make up those races.
Corker has four challengers in the Republican primary, while seven candidates are taking a shot at the Democratic nomination.
Black is locked in a heated battle for the Republican nomination with challenger Lou Ann Zelenik, whom she narrowly defeated two years ago, but whoever wins the GOP primary may not have a Democratic challenger this fall as no candidate filed papers in the party’s primary.
Keisling has no challenger in the Republican primary, and neither does the Democratic candidate David Harper–which will probably set up a race between the two for the bid.
The general election for those seats and for President is set for November.