Unicoi GOP won’t replace deceased nominee, leaves race to write-in candidates

The Unicoi County Republican party has decided against selecting a party nominee for the position of Assessor of Property oin the Aug. 4 election, reports the Erwin Record. The nominee would have replaced General Election ballot.

A nominee would have replaced Margaret Seward, who won the March 1 primary election but died on election day. Another candidate, Wayne Peterson, who was holding the position on an interim basis, died during early voting.

The party’s Executive Committee met at 9 a.m. on Saturday, May 28, at the Unicoi County Courthouse and unanimously voted not to place a candidate on the ballot; instead, allowing individuals interested in the office run as write-in candidates.

Debbie Tittle, the county’s register of deeds and the county party’s vice-chairman, motioned not to place a candidate on the ballot, saying, “… I think that this is still America; it is still a democracy and this ought to be in the hands of the people.”

Tittle’s motion was seconded by Terry Haynes, the county’s road superintendent and vice-president of the county party.

Both Tittle and Haynes voted in favor of her motion. Also voting yes were Executive Committee members Mitzi Bowen, Lynn Woodruff, Kent Harris, Sarah Sellars and Jim Buchanan, who chairs the committee.

From the Johnson City Press: Peterson’s assistant, Teresa Kinsler, now holds the interim property assessor title after being named by the commission on March 28. Commissioner John Moseley was the only opposing vote and Walter Garland was absent.

“She had been helping Peterson run the office for some time and she is now conducting a write-in campaign before we even made (this decision),” Buchanan said of Kinsler.