x
Breaking News
More () »

Knox Co. Primary Election Results: Spangler, Helsley projected to win after posting large leads

Some of the biggest primary elections in Knox County include ones for sheriff, chancellor and for mayor.

KNOX COUNTY, Tenn. — It's election time in Tennessee!

With 100% of precincts reporting, Knox County has posted its unofficial primary election results.

Tuesday's primary elections decided which candidates will run with the support of either the Democratic and Republican parties in the August 4 general election. Some races also sealed in who will lead certain county positions that will be uncontested during the general election, such as Knox County sheriff.

Around 20% of voters in Knox County stopped by a polling location in this year's primary elections, according to the county election commission. Around 7% of voters in the county cast a ballot during the early voting period.

Most of the major races in the county are listed below.

Latest Primary Election Results

Knox County Sheriff

Projected Winner: Tom Spangler (71.2% of the vote with 100% of precincts reporting)

One of the biggest elections was between incumbent Sheriff Tom Spangler and former sheriff Jimmy "J.J." Jones in the Republican primary for Knox County Sheriff. With no Democratic candidates running in that party's primary election, the winner of Tuesday's election would effectively go on to serve as sheriff of Knox County for four more years after the August general election.

Jimmy "J.J." Jones was the county's former sheriff before Spangler was elected in 2018 and sworn in that September.

After early voting results dropped, Spangler held onto around 71% of the votes -- declaring victory shortly after due to the wide margin. As of 10:40 p.m. with 100% of precincts reporting, Spangler's wide lead had not budged.

“I can’t be thankful enough to the voters. They are giving me four more years to run the Knox County Sheriff’s Office,” he said.

Spangler said one of his top priorities for the next four years will be recruiting and retaining deputies, saying the county needs to remain competitive with other departments across the country.

"We’re in a bidding war right now," he said.

WBIR political analyst and Democrat Don Bosch said he assumed Spangler would win but was surprised by the wide margin.

"I've said all along this community doesn’t like recycled politicians. That bears out pretty clearly with this vote."

Democratic Primary for Knox County Mayor

Projected Winner: Debbie Helsley (74.1% of the vote with 100% of precincts reporting)

Incumbent Mayor of Knox County Glenn Jacobs ran unopposed on the Republican primary ballot. However, three Democrats ran for a chance to face him in the August general election — Bob Fischer, Tyler Givens and Debbie Helsley.

Helsley raised around $14,000 for her race, spending around $8,400 on her campaign. Meanwhile, Givens raised only $1,030 according to county data but spent around $4,300 on his campaign.

Fischer neither spent nor raised any money, according to an April statement.

Helsley declared victory in the primary as she held onto around 74% of the votes with 100% of precincts reporting.

Knox County Chancellor

Projected Winner: Richard "Bud" Armstrong ( 51.5% of the vote with 100% of precincts reporting)

The winner of this race would serve in the county's Chancery Court, serving in the Sixth District. Two of the court's three judges ran unopposed in Tuesday's election: John F. Weaver and Christopher D. Heagerty.

However, three people ran for a single spot on the court. They included Richard "Bud" Armstrong, R. Deno Cole, and Clarence E. "Eddie" Pridemore Jr.

Chancery courts handle a variety of issues that can include lawsuits, contract disputes, injunction applications and name changes. Some issues, like divorces or workers' compensation cases, can be heard in either chancery or circuit court.

Richard "Bud" Armstrong held onto nearly 52% of the votes with 100% of precincts reporting.

Bosch noted that Pridemore, the incumbent, came in third, while Armstrong had a towering lead over his two opponents.

"That shows you the political machine that Bud's built over the years," he said.

Republican Primary for Knox Co. Commission At-Large Seat 11

Projected Winner: Kim Frazier (56.7% of the vote with 100% of precincts reporting) 

Kim Frazier and Devin Driscoll faced off in the Republican primary for an open seat on Knox County Commission. 

The Democratic candidate, Vivian Shipe, ran unopposed in her primary race. She will face the winner of Tuesday's election in August. 

Justin Biggs, who currently fills the commission seat, is instead running to be the next Knox County Trustee.

With 100% of precincts reporting, Frazier held onto the lead with 57% of the vote.

WBIR political analyst Susan Richardson Williams, a longtime Republican, said Driscoll raised tens of thousands of dollars. But it wasn't enough to beat Frazier.

"He had the money; she had the workers," she said.

Republican Primary for Knox County Trustee

Projected Winner: Justin Biggs (57.2% of the vote with 100% of precincts reporting)

Justin Biggs and Richard Jacobs each ran to be the Republican candidate for Knox County Trustee. They will face Dave "Caz" Cazalet in August, who ran unopposed in the Democratic primary election.

Ed Shouse, the current Knox County Trustee, was term-limited and could not seek reelection after serving two terms.

With 100% of precincts reporting, Biggs held onto the lead with more than 57% of the vote.

Richardson Williams said Jacobs had the business experience. But Biggs had the advantage of having great connections among an array of Republicans in Knox County.

Democratic Primary for Board of Education District 1 

Projected Winner: John Butler (57% of the vote with 100% of precincts reporting)

With no Republican candidates running in the primary, John Butler and Charles Frazier ran in the Democratic primary. This is the first year that school board elections are partisan in Tennessee after a state law allowed people to run with the support of political parties.

Several candidates also plan to run for several Board of Education seats independently of any political party during the August general election.

With 100% of precincts reporting, Butler held onto the lead with 57% of the vote.

Bosch said the switch to partisan elections will change the dynamic of school board races and the appearance of the board come September.

Republican Primary for Board of Education District 9

Projected Winner: Kristi Kristy (64.4% of the vote with 100% of precincts reporting) 

Phil King ran against incumbent Kristi Kristy to be the Republican candidate in District 9 of the Board of Education. Whoever wins the primary will face Annabel Henley in August, who ran unopposed in the Democratic primary.

Several candidates also plan to run for several Board of Education seats independently of any political party during the August general election.

Kristi Kristy got around 64% of the votes with 100% of precincts reporting.

Republican Primary for Board of Education District 7

Projected Winner: Steve Triplett (64.8% of the vote with 100% of precincts reporting) 

Sherri Garrett and Steve Triplett faced each other for the Republican ticket for District 7 of the Knox County Board of Education. No Democratic candidate ran in the primary elections.

Several candidates also plan to run for several Board of Education seats independently of any political party during the August general election.

With 100% of precincts reporting, Triplett held onto the lead with 65% of the votes.