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Saturday, Apr. 30, 2016

Ray, Boyce, Webb win local elections

Friday, August 4, 2006

Eugene Ray and state Rep. Curt Cobb wait for the count to come in Thursday night during a large gathering of Ray supporters at Blue Ribbon Circle. It was nearing midnight before Ray was officially declared the new county mayor.
(T-G Photo by Kay Rose)
Eugene Ray was elected Bedford County mayor Thursday night, defeating independent Mike "Fish" Fisher by a margin of 4,036 to 2,932, according to unofficial totals released very late Thursday night by the county election office.

Ray, the Democratic nominee, succeeds Jimmy Woodson, who chose not to run for re-election but who was elected to a county commission seat. Ray is a local real estate agent who has served as chairman of Bedford County Board of Commissioners. He can, if he chooses, continue to chair the commission, although if he did so he would give up the county mayor's veto power.

Randall Boyce, who defeated incumbent Sheriff Clay Parker in the May Democratic primary, defeated Republican nominee Chris Brown by a resounding 5,440 to 1,430.

Ray's victory party was like a homecoming for his family and those relatives and friends acknowledged the historic nature of Ray's election as the first African-American to be elected as Bedford County mayor, and the first black to be the highest elected official in their jurisdiction in all of Middle Tennessee.

"It's very historic," said Joseph Cleveland of Orlando, Fla., the corporate vice president and chief information officer for Lockheed-Martin, a business with revenues exceeding $38 billion last year.

Cleveland's sister, Olivia, is Ray's wife.

Bedford County Commissioner Ed Castleman said history was made and Ray succeeded by "just being an honest man with plenty of experience."

Although all of the county commission members who ran for re-election were returned to office, five of the 18 commission seats will change hands due to members who did not seek re-election for one reason or another.

In the Bell Buckle mayoral election, Dennis Webb defeated Frank Reagor by a large margin, 143 to 44. Incumbent Linda Key did not seek re-election.

New terms of office will begin Sept. 1.

All vote totals are unofficial until certified by the county election commission, which will meet 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at the county election office in the basement of the courthouse. Final election-night totals were delayed in their release due to a problem with the card reader which downloads electronic results from voting machines. Local officials had to wait for a technician to finish his work in Marshall County before driving to Bedford County to fix the problem. Complete totals were released by the office just before midnight.

The ballot was long and complex, with a long list of yes-and-no votes on judicial nominees. In addition, the new disabled-access voting machines at each precinct operate differently from the regular voting machines, meaning that instead of one election-night printout being generated from each precinct there were two, which had to be manually added together.

In the statewide party primary elections, Bedford County voters agreed with their fellow Tennesseeans on three of the four major races. Gov. Phil Bredesen, who sought the Democratic nomination for re-election, was backed by local and statewide voters, as was U.S. Rep. Harold Ford Jr., who is running for the U.S. Senate. In the Republican primary, local and statewide voters backed State Sen. Jim Bryson to challenge Bredesen in the governor's race.

But Bedford County Republicans backed former U.S. Rep. Van Hilleary in the Senate race, while the statewide vote gave the GOP nomination to former Chattanooga mayor Bob Corker. Bedford County had been a part of Hilleary's congressional district from 1995 through 2002, and Hilleary was a frequent visitor here during that time.

Local Democrats agreed with the rest of the Sixth Congressional District and nominated U.S. Rep. Bart Gordon for re-election over J. Patrick Lyons of Bell Buckle. David R. Davis was unopposed for the Republican nomination.

Democrat Curt Cobb of Shelbyville faces no opposition, either in Thursday's primary or the November general election, for his seat in the Tennessee House of Representatives.

Here are some local results, with winning candidates in italics and (I) indicating an incumbent:

County Mayor

D - Eugene Ray, 4,036

Ind. - Mike "Fish" Fisher, 2,932


D - Randall Boyce, 5,440

R - Chris Brown, 1,430


D - Peggy Bush (I), 5,670

General Sessions Judge

D - Charles Rich (I), 5,408

Circuit Court Clerk

D - Thomas Smith (I), 5,485

County Clerk

D - Kathy Prater (I), 6,207

Register of Deeds

D - Johnny Reed (I), 5,946

County Commission

(2 seats per district)

District 1

Bobby Fox (I), 516

Phillip Vincent (I), 438

District 2

Tony Smith (I), 431

Bobby Vannatta (I), 422

District 3

Roger Brothers (I), 303

Jimmy Patterson, 297

Gale Barber, 271

Lelan Milam, 179

District 4

Jimmy Woodson, 436

Billy King (I), 400

Eugene Nichols, 277

Wayne Schumann, 185

District 5

Linda Yockey, 676

J.D. "Bo" Wilson (I), 618

Frank Nichols, 368

Michael Winton, 354

James Dye, 144

District 6

Jeff Yoes, 269

Joe Tillett (I), 261

District 7

Joyce Tune (I), 294

Tony Barrett, 250

Jimmy Dee Darden, 200

Lizzie Peoples, 131

Vivian Cornish, 102

District 8

John Brown (I), 300

Ed Castleman (I), 234

District 9

P.T. "Biff" Farrar (I), 504

Mark Thomas (I), 567

Bedford County Board of Education

District 2

Ron Adcock (I), 584

District 3

Amy Martin (I), 503

District 4

Diane Neeley (I), 718

District 7

Jerry Naron (I), 489

District 9

Glenn Forsee (I - appointed), 643

Bell Buckle Mayor

Dennis Webb, 143

Frank Reagor, 44

Bell Buckle Board of Aldermen

(2 seats)

James Gray Anderson Sr., 133

Jenny W. Hunt, 119

Here is the Bedford County vote for races in the 17th Judicial District, which includes Bedford, Lincoln, Marshall and Moore counties.

Circuit Judge Part 1

Robert Crigler (I), 4,904

Circuit Judge Part 2

Lee Russell (I), 5,418


J.B. Cox (I), 4,538

District Attorney General

Chuck Crawford, 4,065

Public Defender

Donna Orr Hargrove, 4,155

Staff writer Clint Confehr contributed to this story.

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