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Conway, Young, Stivers win primaries

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Incumbent sheriff holds off Burkhead; incumbent judge-executive falls

By The Staff

Anderson County Democrats knocked one incumbent from his job, returned one to office and picked their party’s choice to run for PVA in the fall during Tuesday’s primary election.

Incumbent Sheriff Troy Young staved off a spirited challenge from Rex Burkhead by scoring a 54.5 percent to 45.5 percent victory.

Magistrate John Wayne Conway ran away with the race for judge-executive, easily outdistancing incumbent Steve Cornish by nearly a 2-to-1 margin.

An inter-office challenge to be the county’s next property value administrator went to Chief Deputy PVA Brian Stivers, who knocked off PVA Deputy Chris Jones 59 percent to 41 percent. Incumbent PVA Beverly Stivers did not seek re-election.

All results are unofficial until certified by the county clerk’s office.

Other local races included primaries in the 5th and 6th magisterial districts, where Democrats elected David Montgomery in the 5th and Kenny Barnett in the 6th.

Montgomery captured 44 percent of the vote, followed by James Sargent with 25 percent, Randy Chrisman with 24 percent and Michael Satterly with 7 percent.

In the 6th, Democrats elected Kenny Barnett with 52 percent of the vote compared to Jeff Drury with 48 percent.

In the 1st District, incumbent David Ruggles received 72 percent of the vote to 28 percent for James Worley, who dropped out of the race about two weeks after filing last year.

The sheriff’s race was largely viewed as the most intriguing heading into Tuesday’s primary. Young, the incumbent, ran unopposed in 2006 and campaigned on what he said were a myriad of accomplishments since taking the office in 2005.

Burkhead, a retired Fish and Wildlife officer, ran a strong campaign, vowing to make changes to the sheriff’s office and getting out in front of residents more than Young.

Young said, in the end, it was his track record that helped him win.

“The people saw our track record on what we have done,” Young said. “Now, we are going to keep on working and continue building what we already started.”

Young said he’s happy the campaign is over.

“It’s a big relief,” he said. “Now, we can focus on the next four years. I love doing my job and I want to continue to serve the citizens of Anderson County.”

Young thanked the people who helped him campaign.

“I owe a lot to the people who got out and worked for me,” he said. “It was a tremendous team effort.”

A call to Burkhead’s phone was not returned by press time Tuesday night.

No Republicans ran for sheriff in Tuesday’s primary.

Conway said his margin of victory was surprising, and credited it to the hard work he and his supporters put in over the past several months.

“I’m overwhelmed,” Conway said. “I’m just lost for words right now. The people saw the direction I want to take this county and what needs to be done.

“Everyone that was out in front helping me did a great job, as did a lot of the people who worked behind the scenes but didn’t come out and be very vocal.

“A lot of people stuck with me, most of all my family.

“At first my wife didn’t even want me to run because of all the negative things that have been said in the past.”

Contacted after the returns came in, Cornish said, “Congratulations to John Wayne Conway.”

Stivers, who will face Republican Gabe Uebel in November, said he was thrilled with the outcome of the PVA primary.

“I’m just tickled to death,” he said. “I appreciate all the hard work my supporters put in. In a few more months, we’re going to do it all again.”

E-mail Ben Carlson at bcarlson@theandersonnews.com.