Welcome to Cocke County Election Central for the Cocke County Primary Election held on May 1, 2018.

The only races on the ballot in this primary election come on the Republican ballot. Several races will be decided tonight, as there are no qualified candidates for the Cocke County General Election in August.

This page will update throughout the night as possible. Live updates where results will be streamed real time as they come into the Cocke County Election Commission office this evening will also be posted. A Plain Talk staff member will be there compiling results as they come in this evening. Users on a mobile device will need to hit refresh.

LATEST UPDATE: 1:43 p.m., May 1

A slow turnout at all polls have been reported at several of Cocke County's 19 precincts. The polls in Cocke County remain open until 8 p.m. All voters in line at 8 p.m. will be allowed to cast a ballot.

(May 1, 9 a.m.): Polls are open at Cocke County's 19 voting precincts. The polls are open until 8 p.m. this evening.

(May 1 - 12 a.m.) Throughout the evening, this is where we will post updates as we are able to post them. Updates will be time stamped and published as available.


For live updates throughout the evening, please follow our live coverage link.

This spreadsheet will track results as they are entered into our system as they are reported at the Cocke County Election Commission office on Tuesday evening.

This sheet will update live. Mobile users will need to hit refresh on their web browsers to access latest totals.

We will also post periodic updates to our social media platforms on Facebook and Twitter. Also follow Publisher Seth Butler on Twitter.


The final chance to cast a ballot in the Cocke County Primary Election is today. Polls open across Cocke County at 19 precincts at 9 a.m. and are open until 8 p.m. this evening.

Voters on Election Day must have a valid Tennessee or Federal Government issued ID card. Voters in line by 8 p.m. will be allowed to vote.

There are six contested races in the Cocke County Republican Primary, along with four uncontested races for countywide offices. Voters may also choose to vote in the Cocke County Democratic Primary, however there are no candidates on the ballot.

In the Republican Primary, the offices of Cocke County Mayor, Sheriff, Road Superintendent, Circuit Court Clerk, Register of Deeds and Circuit Court Judge — Part 1, are up for grabs in contested races. Incumbents in the Cocke County Trustee, Sessions Court Clerk, Cocke County Clerk and Circuit Court Judge — Part 2, face no opposition.

COUNTY MAYOR: In the race for Cocke County Mayor, six candidates are vying for the Republican nomination to advance to the Cocke County General Election in August.

Incumbent Mayor Crystal Ottinger, who captured the Republican nomination in May 2014 with 30.9 percent of the vote, faces five challengers in her re-election bid.

Paul Cogburn, Randall Lillard, Shane Mathis, Roger Stokely and Lora Moore-Wright round out the field of candidates.

The winner of the Republican primary will face off with a pair of Independent candidates in August’s General Election, which will be held on Thursday, Aug. 2.

SHERIFF: In the race for Cocke County Sheriff, Incumbent Armando Fontes is seeking his third term in office. Fontes won his first election to the position running as an Independent candidate in August 2010, upsetting Republican nominee Alton Cureton. In 2014, Fontes successfully won re-election in the Republican primary, defeating challenger Maurice Shults.

Today Fontes faces longtime Sheriff’s Department employee Bryan Murr for the position. Murr recently retired from the department.

With no General Election opponent, the winner of the Republican primary is virtually assured the office when the term begins Sept. 1.

ROAD SUPERINTENDENT: The race for Road Superintendent is one of two races where the current incumbent is choosing not to seek re-election.

Current highway department assistant superintendent, Dwayne ‘Bullet’ McCallister, is seeking the office in his first political bid. Current City of Newport street and sanitation department superintendent Ben Hicks is also seeking the office.

CIRCUIT COURT CLERK: Three individuals are vying for the office of Circuit Court Clerk.

Current clerk, Peggy Lane, announced last year she would retire after holding the office for 36 years.

Jennifer Arms, who is office manager in the Public Defender’s office, is seeking the office after working 20 years in the legal field. Kristy Nease is also on the ballot, having been a 16-year employee in the Circuit Court Clerk’s office. Current Clerk employee Charity Layman Fine is also seeking the office.

REGISTER OF DEEDS: Three candidates are seeking the Register of Deeds office in today’s election.

Mark McGaha is the current officeholder, after having been appointed by the Cocke County Commission to the position after the retirement of Linda Benson in 2016. McGaha has worked in the office since 2010.

Paul Kelvin ‘PK’ Lee, who is currently a manager at ConAgra Foods in Newport, is also seeking election to the position. Lee’s father, Paul Edward Lee, served as a longtime Register in Cocke County.

Jodi Norwood, a former relator and current UT extension office employee, is also seeking the office.

CIRCUIT COURT JUDGE, PART 1: Two individuals are seeking the Circuit Court Judge — Part 1 in the Fourth Judicial District on Tuesday.

Current Judge, Carter Moore, is seeking his first election bid to the bench. Moore was appointed to the position by Governor Bill Haslam in Nov. 2017, following the retirement of Ben W. Hooper. Moore, a Cosby resident, was one of three finalists for the bench, after eight applied and appeared before the State Trial Court Vacancy Commission in Aug. 2017.

Local attorney, Lu Ann Ballew, is also seeking election to the bench. Ballew cites 10 years of judicial experience, having served the Fourth Judicial District as the former Child Support Magistrate.

It was in that position that Ballew made headlines after ruling a Newport woman’s seven-month old child had to change its first name from ‘Messiah’. Cocke County Chancery Court overruled the decision in Sept. 2013 and in early 2014 Ballew was removed from her position and censured after found guilty of violating five rules of judicial conduct.

The race between Moore and Ballew will be decided between voters in the 4th Judicial District, which includes Cocke, Grainger, Jefferson and Sevier Counties. The winner will fill the unexpired term of Hooper and have to run for re-election in 2022.

UNOPPOSED RACES: Four races in the Republican primary face no opposition on the ballot in their bids for election.

County Trustee Rob Mathis seeks a third term in office, after being initially elected to the position in 2010. Cocke County Clerk Jan Brockwell seeks her second term in office, while Sessions Court Clerk Frankie ‘Peachie’ Cody seeks another term in office.

Jim Gass is also running unopposed for Circuit Court Judge — Part 2, which is in the 4th Judicial District. Gass was appointed to the bench by Gov. Haslam earlier this year, following the death of Judge Richard ‘Dick’ Vance. Gass served as a temporary fill-in for Vance, until the appointment was made permanent in February.

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.