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Almost 40 residents on Friday picked up a nominating petition to run in the Knox County primary election, although more than half were incumbents who have already said they plan to seek re-election.

The deadline to qualify is noon on Feb. 20.

Pretty much every county seat, except for a handful of county commission and school board posts, the law director position and the property assessor seat, are up for election.

On Friday, incumbents in most of the bigger seats, including Mayor Tim Burchett, interim Trustee Craig Leuthold, Sheriff Jimmy "J.J." Jones, Register of Deeds Sherry Witt, Criminal Court Clerk Joy McCroskey, Circuit Court Clerk Cathy Shanks (formerly Cathy Quist), Public Defender Mark Stephens, and Clerk Foster Arnett Jr., picked up petitions.

All are Republicans.

Of those seats, three potential candidates – Charles "Sam" Hammett Jr, Bobby Waggoner and Donald Wiser – picked up petitions to run for sheriff. Wiser also picked up a petition to run as an independent for the register of deeds seat.

Randy Nichols, the current district attorney general and a Democrat, does not plan to seek re-election. Charme Knight, a Republican in his office, does.

Candidates need to meet certain qualifications to run for office. In addition, they need 25 signatures from registered voters who can vote in that particularly race.

The primary is May 6. The general election is Aug. 7.

So far only three people picked up petitions to run for County Commission seats. Bo Bennett, who ran for the city mayoral post a few years ago, got a petition for the seat currently held by R. Larry Smith, as did Steve Rogers, who challenged Smith in 2010.

Smith, the commission vice chairman, is term-limited.

In addition, Bob Thomas plans to seek the at-large seat held by Mike Hammond, who has announced his intentions to run for the criminal court clerk post.

Three incumbent school board members – Gloria Deathridge, Lynne Fugate and Pam Trainor – picked up petitions. Newcomers Terry Hill and Tamara Shepherd got petitions for the seat currently held by Thomas Deakins, who has said he doesn't plan to seek re-election.

The school board seats are non-partisan.

The entire list can be found here.

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