County voters to decide 18 races on Tuesday

Over seven months of campaigning comes to an end Tuesday in Pulaski County when voters go to the polls to determine the winners and losers of 18 local races.

According to Kathy Webb, Pulaski County Director of Elections and General Registrar, there are 21,986 countians registered to vote in next week’s balloting.

Don’t look for them all – or even half – to vote. They likely won’t. Unfortunately.

Four years ago, when voters decided the same 18 races, only about 6,000 county voters cast ballots. Back then there were a handful of interesting races in one or two of the county’s five magisterial districts, but overall there weren’t any big countywide races like Sheriff and Commonwealth’s Attorney to drive citizens to the polls.

Two years later, in 2017, nearly 12,000 people cast ballots to end a campaign season that – at times – got vicious. The hard feelings were sparked by a four-way race for Sheriff.

Not so this year. Things in 2019 appear to be much like they were in 2015. There’s a handful of races – mostly for seats on the Board of Supervisors – that have peaked the electorate’s interests. But there’s not that one big countywide race needed to drive people to the ballot box.

That could mean we’ll once again see another lackluster turnout with about 6,000 or so countians go to the polls Tuesday.

Light turnout or not, some longtime local election observers believe turnout could determine the outcome of at least a couple of the races on Tuesday. They believe those races are that close.

Here’s a look at Tuesday’s races:

First off, several of the local races to be decided Tuesday – eight of the 18 to be exact – aren’t really races at all as those on the ballot are unopposed.

All five School Board races will be settled about as fast as it takes the candidates to vote for themselves.

Four incumbents – Tim Hurst in Draper District, Bill Benson in Cloyd, Beckie Cox in Massie and Paige Cash in Robinson – are unopposed for re-election.

In Ingles District, Penny Golden is unopposed. Golden will win election to the School Board after two failed attempts at winning the district’s seat on the Board of Supervisors.

Incumbent Mike Barbour, who has represented the Ingles District for eight years, chose not to seek re-election this year. During those years he served one term as Chairman and one as Vice Chairman.

Also unopposed this year is Sheriff Mike Worrell and Commonwealth’s Attorney K. Mike Fleenor.

Also unopposed are George Hudson and G. Blair Sanders who are again seeking election as Soil and Water Conservation Directors for the Skyline District.

Commissioner of Revenue

Donna Gray is the incumbent Democrat being challenged a second time in less than a year by Kim Matthews – running this time around as a Republican.

Gray won a special election last January to finish the final year of the term of Commissioner Trina Rupe who died in August of 2018.

Tuesday’s winner will serve a full four-year term.


Democratic incumbent Melinda Worrell is seeking a fourth term as treasurer. She is being opposed by newcomer Tracy Belcher, a Republican.

Board of Supervisors

All five seats on the board are being contested this time around.

Four years ago, Robinson District Supervisor Charles Bopp ran unopposed, as did Ingles District Supervisor Ranny O’Dell.

This year, Bopp – a Republican – is seeking a fourth term in Robinson. He has been unopposed in the last two races.  This year he is challenged by former Pulaski Mayor Jeff Worrell, a Democrat.

In Ingles, O’Dell is running for a third term – this time as an independent.

His opponent is Republican Laura Walters, who knocked O’Dell out of the Republican nomination in April during the party’s mass meeting. O’Dell later resigned from the county’s Republican Party and threw his hat in the ring as an independent.

There is no Democrat in the Ingles race.

In Cloyd District, Republican Joe Guthrie is seeking a second term and is opposed by political newcomer, Andy Cullip, an independent.

In Massie District, incumbent Republican Andy McCready is seeking a third term. He is opposed by John Travis, running as an independent.

Travis chose to run as an independent after losing the Republican nomination in April’s mass meeting by one vote to McCready.

Finally, in Draper there is a three-way race again as it was in 2015.

Current Draper Supervisor Dean Pratt chose not to seek re-election. Running to replace Pratt on the board are Democrat “Fritz” Streff, Republican “Dirk” Compton and independent Allison Haller Hunter.

State Senate – 38th District

Republican Ben Chaffin, Jr. is running for a third term, this time against retired Tazewell banker, George McCall III, an independent.

House of Delegates – 12th District

The 12th District includes precincts in Giles and Montgomery counties and the City of Radford – plus two precincts (Belspring and New River) in Pulaski County.

Democrat Chris Hurst is seeking a second term and is being challenged by Giles County Republican T. Forrest Hite.

House of Delegates – 7th District

The 7th includes Pulaski County’s other 10 precincts as well as precincts in Floyd and Montgomery counties.

Incumbent Republican Nick Rush is seeking a fifth term in Richmond and is being opposed by Democrat Rhonda Seltz.

Seltz stepped in for the Democrats when Todd Fearer dropped out of the race early on.

Polls open Tuesday at 6 a.m. and close at 7 p.m. Voters in line at 7 p.m. will be allowed to vote.

Voters need to remember to bring their photo ID with them to the polls on Election Day.

If you have any questions about voting or your registration call Webb’s office at 540-980-2111.

Follow the election results Tuesday night on The Patriot’s website at

Pulaski County Polling Places:

  • Belspring (Belspring United Methodist Church)
  • New River (Riverlawn Elementary)
  • West Cloyd (NRV Fairgrounds)
  • Draper (Draper Vol. Fire Dept.)
  • South Pulaski (Central Gym)
  • Newbern (Dublin Lions Club)
  • Dublin (Dublin Lions Club)
  • Hiwassee (Hiwassee Vol. Fire Dept.)
  • Snowville (Snowville Elementary)
  • Massie (Central Gym)
  • Walker (NRV Fairgrounds)
  • Robinson (Central Gym)

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