Holsclaw to challenge Cochran

By Thomas Wilson
STAR STAFF
twilson@starhq.com

   Former Carter County assessor of property John B. Holsclaw will challenge incumbent state Rep. Jerome Cochran in the state Republican primary on Aug. 5.
   Holsclaw filed his candidacy papers with the Carter County Election Commission office on Wednesday. Cochran represents Carter County in the 4th District House of Representatives seat. The state primary will be held Tuesday, Aug. 5, to select party nominees for the Nov. 2 general election.
   Cochran defeated Ralph Cole two years ago in the GOP primary. He went on to win the general election held in November 2002. A graduate of Happy Valley High School, the University of Tennessee at Knoxville and Regent Law School, Cochran staunchly opposed a state income tax and supported widespread reform of the TennCare program. Cochran, 117 Creola Way, Johnson City, filed his candidacy papers for re-election in March.
   Holsclaw, 2165 Dave Buck Rd., Johnson City, served as the county's tax assessor for 27 years until announcing his retirement in February of 2003. In a letter to Dale Fair announcing his retirement, Holsclaw indicated he wanted to spend more time with his family.
   Elizabethton voters will also select a permanent City Council member to replace the late Diane Morris in a special city election on the Aug. 5 general election ballot. Sitting Councilman Bill Carter, 708 Pine St., was expected to run for the council seat. Carter was appointed by a 4-3 majority of the City Council to serve Morris' term following her death in March of 2003. Morris died of cancer in February 2003 only three months after winning re-election.
   Judy Donley, 1207 Erie Lane, confirmed Thursday that she had filed candidacy papers seeking the council seat. Donley challenged Cole for the Republican nomination to the state house in 1998.
   Citizens running for party nominations and as independent candidates had until noon Thursday to submit papers declaring their candidacy. While at least three other citizens picked up candidacy papers from the Carter County Election Commission office, only Holsclaw filed to have his name on the primary ballot.
   Gerald Holly was named interim tax assessor by the County Commission in April 2003. Holly took his first step to claiming the office in February by winning the county Republican primary. He is not facing a Democratic challenger since the party did not hold a county primary for the office.
   The debate over a personal income tax divided many Tennessee Republicans and contributed to three longtime upstate lawmakers being ousted in their primary races. Republican David Hawk of Greeneville defeated incumbent Zane C. Whitson for the Republican nomination in the 5th District.
   Steve Southerland defeated former state Sen. Tommy Haun of Greeneville for his 1st District senate seat.
   Cochran is not the only upstate Republican being challenged in the state primary. Republican Sherry Grubb of Bristol has filed papers to challenge Rep. Jason Mumpower, R-Bristol, in the GOP primary for the 3rd District House seat representing Johnson and Sullivan counties, according to the Sullivan County Election Commission office. The winner of that primary will face Joe "Mike" Akard, who is seeking the Democratic nomination in the 3rd District.
   In Sullivan County, Linda Brittenham is seeking the Democratic nomination to challenge Republican state Rep. Steve Godsey, R-Blountville in November. Neal Kerney of Kingsport is seeking the Republican nomination to battle Nathan Vaughn, D-Kingsport, for the 2nd District House office.
   The city of Elizabethton will have three City Council seats up for the regular city election held in November. Seats are presently held by council members Nancy Alsup, Mayor Sam LaPorte, and Richard Sammons. City voters will also go to the polls to select three Board of Education members. Seats held by Dr. Jonathan Bremer, Judy Richardson and Dr. Bob Sams will be on the city election ballot in November.
   Early voting for the state primary and county general election runs from July 16 to July 31. Carter County citizens have until July 6 to register to vote in the state primary and county general election. The registration deadline for the Nov. 4 state and federal election is Oct. 3.