Local Democratic headquarters to open after primary election

By Julie Fann
star staff

  The local Democratic Party doesn't plan to open its headquarters until after the Aug. 5 primary election since no candidates for the statehouse or U.S. Congress hale from Elizabethton or Carter County. Elizabethton Democratic Party Chairman Sid Davidson said Sunday the party will set a date for the opening after official announcements of candidates are made during the Democratic Convention held this week in Boston.
   The Aug. 5 ballot includes the county general election as well as state and federal primaries. The early voting period ends July 31.
   The Republican party's marquee local race pits incumbent state Rep. Jerome Cochran against former County Assessor of Property, John Holsclaw in the Republican primary for the 4th District seat in the House of Representatives. Cochran won his first term in 2002.
   Rep. Bill Jenkins, R-1st, of Hawkins County, faces challenger David R. Smith of Kingsport in the federal Republican primary. Three candidates - William Malcolm Earp, Jr. of Bristol; Lewis Hopkins of Sneedville; and Graham Leonard of Kingsport - are vying for the Democratic nomination to face Jenkins in November. Independent candidates Ralph J. Ball of Bulls Gap and Michael Peavler of Jonesborough have also qualified to run against Jenkins in November.
   The local election slate on the Aug. 5 ballot includes the County Assessor of Property's office, four County School Board seats, one City Council seat and two seats in the city of Watauga.
   The state primary also includes selection of the Democratic state executive committeewoman's seat for the 3rd Senatorial District. Pamela Harris is the current Democratic state executive committeewoman.
  Davidson said the Democratic Party's office is open regularly during morning hours, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., and those who have questions or need information can call the office at 543-5354.