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Unofficial Election Results: Knox Co. Mayor Glenn Jacobs reelected; some races see close wins

Thursday's ballot was a big one, covering local general races as well as state and federal primaries.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Compared to a similar ballot four years ago, this year's county general and state and federal primaries were fairly quiet with fewer voters turning up this time around.

Unlike 2018, there was only one Republican running in Thursday's primary for governor -- Bill Lee -- and he was an unopposed incumbent. No U.S. Senate candidates were on the ballot. And the Knox County mayor's race lacked the novelty this year that it featured four years ago when Republican and WWE wrestler Glenn Jacobs was making his first run at the Knox County mayor's job against Democrat Linda Haney.

But there were a handful of races in the area that attracted attention, either because of the people running or the things that they've said or been accused of doing.

Early voting ended Saturday. Polls on Thursday were open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Knox County elections chief Chris Davis guessed a total turnout of about 55,000 to 60,000 -- and he was right on the money. According to the unofficial results, just shy of 56,000 voters cast a ballot.

Knox County Mayoral Election: Glenn Jacobs reelected

According to the preliminary results, Republican Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs has been reelected after defeating Democratic challenger Debbie Helsley.

Jacobs had a solid lead in the race after early voting results dropped Thursday night, and as the night went on he held on to roughly 55% of the vote. However, his re-election lead was noticeably smaller compared to his initial run for office in 2018 -- where he ended up defeating Democrat Linda Haney with 66% of the nearly 78,000 votes cast in that election.

"Voter turnout this year played a big part in race results -- a lot of them were very close," Jacobs said. "And while the common trope is that votes don't matter, nothing is further from the truth in local elections. Local elections are where the most impactful decisions are made."

18th District House Primary: Elaine Davis secures Republican nomination


With 100% of precincts reporting, unofficial results showed Elaine Davis secured the Republican nomination over Janet Testerman for the 18th District's seat in the Tennessee House.

Republicans Janet Testerman, now a Knoxville councilwoman, and local party vice chair Elaine Davis were vying to replace Republican Eddie Mannis, who decided after one two-year term he was done. Mannis has given money to Testerman's campaign and she's raised thousands more dollars than Davis. Both have tried to out-do each other on who is the bigger conservative.

Davis two years ago ran and lost against Democrat Gloria Johnson for the 13th District House seat. She was aggressive in challenging Johnson then and she's been aggressive in challenging Testerman this summer.

Testerman has collected more of the traditional GOP money among donors. She's also gotten $1,000 from Mannis, records show.


District 1 Knox County School Board: John Butler elected

According to unofficial results, the Rev. John Butler, a Democrat, has been elected by a wide margin after running against Independents Breyauna Holloway and Reginald Jackson. It's notable that two Independents were running. 

It's even more notable that the candidates have spent relatively little money. Butler has spent roughly $4,000 all of this year. He has the greatest name recognition of the three. Jackson and Holloway report spending nothing.

No Republican chose to run.


District 4 Knox County School Board: Katherine Bike wins close race

In an incredibly close race, Democrat Katherine Bike defeated Republican Will Edwards by a little more than 130 votes. 

This may have been the most partisan of all the school board races this year. The candidates were also running in a relatively affluent district -- Sequoyah Hills, Bearden and Blue Grass, in part -- that's been competitive for Democrats and trending blue. 

Edwards has spent about $44,000 and is sitting on $51,000, a lot for a school board race. Bike has spent about $17,000 this year and is sitting on about $11,500, records show.


District 7 Knox County School Board: Steve Triplett wins

According to unofficial results, Republican Steve Triplett secured a large win over independent Dominque Oakley with 71% of the vote. Triplett survived a primary in May after acknowledging misusing private school funds in the past while in Ohio.

Oakley said she deliberately chose to run as an independent and that she has tried consciously to keep politics out of her work as an educator. She said she comes from a family of educators and is passionate about improving public schools.


Knox County Commission District 3: Gina Oster wins

According to unofficial results, Republican Gina Oster, who has run for several offices without success over the years, managed to find success Thursday night by defeating Democrat Stuart Hohl in another close race. The west side district seat was open because Randy Smith is term-limited.

Oster, who has served on a couple of county boards or councils, might have been perceived as the favorite, but some Republicans had been lukewarm about her. And in the closing weeks of the election, a video surfaced on social media from a decade ago in which Oster as a school board candidate made comments expressing concerns about "inner city" kids getting to attend private schools because of school vouchers.


Knox County Commission At-Large Seat 11: Kim Fraizer wins

According to unofficial results, Republican Kim Frazier defeated Democrat Vivian Shipe with 54% of the vote to fill the open at-large seat. 

Both have been heavily involved in community affairs, and both have community name recognition. Both also speak passionately about issues of substance such as mental health services and county growth.


Farragut Mayor: Ron Williams wins by less than 60 votes

Farragut doesn't usually get a lot of attention when it comes to elections. But the race for mayor between Bill Johns and incumbent Ron Williams has been frosty this summer -- and it ended in one of the closes races of the night.

Williams defeated Johns by fewer than 60 votes, according to unofficial results.


Union County Sheriff: Billy Breeding reelected

According to unofficial results, incumbent Billy Breeding won the Union County Sheriff's race with 35% of the votes. Jeffery Sharp came in a close second with 30% of the votes. 

Breeding faced state scrutiny in an online test cheating scandal among some deputies. 

State investigators argued Breeding and his chief deputy broke the terms of a probation agreement made with the state after Union County deputies were caught cheating on state-mandated certification tests.

Last month, a state commission that certifies law officers voted against revoking Breeding's certification. 

Earlier this year, a special investigator was appointed to look into whether Breeding engaged in inappropriate sexual behavior with a subordinate in his vehicle.

Breeding chalked the accusation up to "politics."

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