A return to Washington seems to be in the cards for incumbent U.S. Rep. Dr. Scott DesJarlais as he weathered the challenge from political upstart Grant Starrett and two other hopefuls.
DesJarlais won the GOP nomination by besting his closest rival, Murfreesboro resident Grant Starrett, by a count of 24,207 votes to 20,131. The other two candidates, Erran Persley and Yomi Fapausi finished with 1,614 and 493 votes, respectively.
With the win, DesJarlais will face Steven Reynolds who advanced to November to face the incumbent as he won an uncontested race for the Democratic nod.
DesJarlais won despite failing to carry Rutherford and Bradley counties, the two biggest counties in the district. Starrett lives in Rutherford County, which is the district’s largest county. Starrett also carried Meigs and Rhea counties.
The rest of the district was left to the incumbent as DesJarlais won Bedford, Franklin, Grundy, Lincoln, Bledsoe, Marshall, Maury, Marion, Moore, Sequatchie, Van Buren and Warren counties. DesJarlais won Warren County by a count of 1,013 votes to 897 for Starrett.
On the state level, Sparta businessman Paul Sherrell emerged victorious from a tight three-man race for the Republican nomination for the 43rd District House of Representatives. He will advance to challenge freshman Democratic state Rep. Kevin Dunlap of Rock Island. The district serves White, Grundy and about two-thirds of Warren County.
Sherrell defeated fellow Sparta residents Bob Robinson and Sam Elder for the nomination. Dunlap faced no opposition for the Democratic bid.
For Sherrell, the margin of victory was close as he defeated Robinson by a count of 1,874 votes to 1,811. Elder was a distant third with 463 votes.
His win came despite the fact Robinson carried two of the three counties in the district, Warren and Grundy. However, Sherrell carried their home county of White by a margin of 1,298 to 1,150. White County, although having about the same number of people Warren County has in the district, saw a much higher voter turnout. Robinson won Warren County by a count of 424 to 344 over Sherrell.
Warren County voter turnout was abysmally low with only 18 percent of the county’s 18,022 registered voters casting ballots in the election. Only 3,267 ballots were cast in Warren County.
Locally, Tanya Shockley Bess won a second term of office as 4th District School Board member, beating James T. Jacobs 386 votes to 152. Fellow School Board member Bill Zechman from the 2nd District was returned for another term without opposition. In the 6th District, Teddy B. Jones won his first term without opposition as incumbent Scott Holmes opted not to run.
Beth Woodlee Martin was returned to another term as Assessor of Property without opposition.
Linda Atnip Jones was elected without opposition for the vacant 6th District County Commissioner seat.
Meanwhile, Tyrone Sparkman, who had been appointed as interim county commissioner for the 5th District, was elected officially with 156 votes to 86 for Republican Jack Holland, and 53 for Independent Lori Judkins.
Said Sparkman, “I like a challenge and I’ll work hard at it and work with the other 23 commissioners. I’m glad we voted down the tax increase because I was against it. I thought the people of the 5th District were against it and that’s why I voted that way.”
Sparkman has filled the seat for two months on an interim basis.