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The Scoop - The County Commission
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With all 24 seats on the Warren County Commission up for election in August, what kind of turnover can we expect on our beloved governing body?

If the last two county elections are any indication, voters like change when it comes to county commissioners. If recent history continues, we’ll have around 10 new members set to take office Sept. 1.

Eight years ago in August 2014, there were 10 new members elected to the County Commission, which is a 41.6% turnover rate. That turnover rate is actually much higher when you consider 2014 was a year with very low interest and there were four districts with eight incumbents who were reelected without opposition.

So if you take the 16 commissioners who were on the 2014 ballot facing an opponent, 10 of them were defeated, or 62.5%.

Four years ago in August 2018, there were 11 new county commissioners elected. Only one district was unopposed, that being the 7th District where incumbents Tommy Savage and Gary Martin did not face opposition.

So what can we expect in 2022 with 37 candidates fighting for 20 open seats on the County Commission? It should be noted that Savage and Martin once again do not face opposition in the 7th District, which means someone else out there in the Campaign-Rock Island area needs to take an interest in running.

Scott Rubley and Randy England are also unopposed and will return in the 8th District so four of our 24 commissioners are already in place.

We’re guaranteed to get at least three new commissioners because Carl E. Bouldin is retiring after seven terms, Joseph Stotts is not seeking reelection to run for county executive, and Deborah Evans has decided not to run again.

Absolutely anything can happen when it comes to County Commission races, largely because the pool of voters is so small. There are only 3,413 residents in each district, give or take a percentage point, and only about half of those people are registered to vote.

Then when you factor in that only about half of all registered voters actually take the time to go vote and you’re looking at about 800 people deciding each race. That’s not many.

Warren County’s 2nd District has the most people running for County Commission with 6 candidates. When you think about dividing the total number of votes that will be received six ways, it’s not going to take much to get elected. The person with the most relatives wins!

I’m interested to see if the Republican Effect will ripple down all the way to the County Commission districts. We all know you have to run as a Republican to win at the federal and state levels in rural Tennessee, but how much does party matter to, say, the voters of Centertown in their choice for commissioner?

Looking at the districts and the candidates running, I predict we’ll have eight new members of the Warren County Commission come September. That's exactly 33% turnover.

Standard editor James Clark can be reached at 473-2191.