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4 - New leaders elected
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Sheriff Jackie Matheny Jr., County Executive Terry Bell, General Sessions Judge Ryan J. Moore, and District Attorney Chris Stanford posed together after they were each sworn in this year. - photo by Bethany Porter

This year, a lot of changes happened in local government following the 2022 elections. 

Warren County elected a new county executive when Terry Bell defeated incumbent Jimmy Haley in August.  Before Bell faced off against Haley, he had to beat Joseph Stotts for the Republican nomination. Bell barely edged out Stotts by 23 votes. He finished with 1,890 votes, while Stotts finished with 1,867.

The final race was not as close as Bell won with 5,291 votes for 60.5 percent, while Haley finished with 3,433 votes for 39.2 percent. 

“We really appreciate everybody’s effort that they put into this,” said Bell moments after final results were announced. “We’re looking to set up a new administration and do good work for the county and if you didn’t vote for me I still want to be a good county executive for all the people of Warren County.”

Warren County also elected a new sheriff. Jackie Matheny Jr. unseated Tommy Myers after one term as sheriff in an exciting race. Matheny won with a margin of 87 votes. He finished with 4,432 votes for 50.4 percent, and Myers was right behind with 4,345 votes for 49.4 percent. 

“Holy cow it was close,” said Matheny after the final results were released. “My opponent is a good man and I think we both ran good campaigns and this came down to the wire. I’m excited that it went my way.”

District Attorney General Lisa Zavogiannis was unseated by Chris Stanford after serving for 16 years. Stanford won with 58.2 percent of the votes from both Warren and Van Buren County. In Warren County he won with 5,151 votes to 3,566 for Zavogiannis. 

Seven new commissioners were also elected to the county commission this year. Kenny Moffitt, Scott Kelly, Donna Smith, James Hines, Chris Rippy, Cam Montgomery and Scottie Keel were each elected to their first term; however, Keel declined his seat. A special election was held in November for the newly vacant District Two seat and Charles Dotson was elected. Dotson did not initially run for the position. 

Ryan J. Moore ran unopposed for general sessions judge and replaced Judge Bill Locke who held the seat since 2012. 

In the city, two new aldermen were elected. Keri Morton, Steve Harvey and Deitra Dunlap emerged from a six-candidate field to take the three seats available in November’s election. Harvey, the only incumbent to hold on to his seat, led all vote getters with 1,257 votes, while Dunlap collected 1,005 votes. For the third seat, Morton was able to edge incumbent Everett Brock 919 to 912 in a nail biter. The trio elected joined Sally Brock, Stacey Harvey and Rachel Kirby on the board of mayor and aldermen, led by Mayor Ryle Chastain.