Shipley, McKinney, Bowers win council race
Cox narrowly defeats Morris in unofficial city results

By Thomas Wilson

STAR STAFF
twilson@starhq.com

   Three incumbents won, and one newcomer narrowly defeated an incumbent in the Elizabethton City Council election, according to unofficial election results on Tuesday night.
   Sitting council members Sam Shipley, Janie Smith McKinney, and Pat "Red" Bowers won re-election, while former city finance director Sid Cox edged incumbent Diane Morris by a mere 10 votes, according to unofficial totals compiled by the Carter County Election Commission.
   As he did in the 1998 city council election, Shipley led the ticket picking up 2,672 votes. Bowers garnered 2,216 votes, and McKinney received 2,155 votes, according to unofficial vote totals.
   "I am extremely overwhelmed, humbled and honored the citizens have given me the solid vote to represent them once again," Shipley said. "The present council has been very good to work with, and if there are any changes in the present council I will be looking forward to working with them as well."
   Employed by the U.S. Postal Service, Shipley serves as vice chairman of the Elizabethton Regional Planning Commission and is a member of the Economic Development Commission among numerous other boards.
   He said city council members realized the next year will bring new challenges with a new governor and new attitudes in Nashville. Shipley said he hoped the next budget year would not bring cuts in shared state revenues for the city.
   "There haven't been any cuts so far, and let's hope there won't be any in the future," he said.
   McKinney pushed community improvement in her re-election campaign, particularly a remedy to the old county hospital building.
   "I am looking forward to it, and I appreciate the people giving me another four years," McKinney told the Star on Tuesday night.
   Cox defeated Morris by a razor-thin margin of 1,598 votes to 1,588 votes, according to unofficial numbers.
   The city's finance director from 1991 to 2000, Cox acknowledged his margin of victory was "very slim" over Morris, but added that if the totals held, he was "very excited" to join the council.
   "It is difficult to overtake an incumbent in an election, and I am very appreciative of the voters of the City of Elizabethton," said Cox.
   He, like Shipley, felt the city could be facing uncertain times as the state rolled into a new budget year with new questions on funding.
   "It is going to be a very challenging time, for the city of Elizabethton as well as other municipalities across the state," said Cox. "I am just very happy the voters of the city of Elizabethton have chosen me to represent them for the next four years."
   Cox said he felt his expertise in general financial management, particularly from a municipal government operation perspective, would assist the council in budget deliberations over the next four years.
   "I have worked with current city council members in my previous position as director of finance," said Cox. "I really do look forward to working with them from a different side of the political spectrum as a representative of the voters and taxpayers."
   Bowers continues to be one of the city's most popular council members, winning his third consecutive term. A City Council member since 1993, Bowers sold automobiles for over 50 years in Elizabethton. He was appointed to the City Council in 1993 and won full terms to the Council in 1994 and 1998.
   "I am grateful, and I thank the people of Elizabethton, and I wouldn't think of living anywhere else," said Bowers, who spoke to the Star from his home on Tuesday night. "Our citizens are safe to walk the streets, and I am real proud of our progress and efforts we have made on behalf of the city."
   Bowers said he feels the council will consider moving forward on future issues facing the city. He also extended his thanks and appreciation to his seven candidates for their foray into public service.
   "All eight candidates are to be congratulated by me to come forward; they want to serve for the betterment of Elizabethton," said Bowers. "Whether they won or not they are to be congratulated, and I wish more citizens would come forward to help make our city better."
   The eight-candidate field was rounded out by challenger John W. Hughes who came in sixth with 772 votes while William Don Pectol received 700 votes and Robert Smalling finished with 669 votes.
   The winners will join sitting council members Mayor Sam LaPorte, Richard Sammons and Nancy Alsup on the council.
   All voting totals are unofficial until certified by the Carter County Election Commission.