Alexander, LaPorte, Sammons take council seats

By Thomas Wilson
star staff

  Two political newcomers captured two of three at-large seats on Elizabethton City Council while an incumbent went down to defeat in Tuesday's city election.

Curt Alexander

  Curt Alexander and Charles LaPorte won council seats while incumbent Councilwoman Nancy Alsup lost her bid for a third consecutive council term.
  Alexander led the six candidate field racking up 23 percent of ballots cast with 2,800 votes, according to unofficial voting totals. He did not return telephone calls on Tuesday night seeking comment on his win.
  Charles LaPorte won the second seat with 2,265 votes while incumbent Councilman Richard Sammons captured the third at- large seat with 2,248 votes. Alsup finished fourth with 2,089 votes. Other candidates Thomas Whitehead picked up 1,632 votes for fifth place while Robert Gobble took home 1,298 votes.

Charles LaPorte

  LaPorte said the election left him humbled by the support received in the community as well as volunteers who worked for him. He said he was genuinely surprised by his success in the election.
  "I did not expect to do as good as I did," LaPorte said. "It is very surprising and pleasing."
  He has been president and sole owner of LaPorte Construction Company since 1991. He has worked as a general contractor on commercial and residential construction projects. He presently serves on the Elizabethton Construction Board of Adjustments and Appeals.
  LaPorte served as building committee chairman with Habitat for Humanity in 1988 working as a construction supervisor and volunteer on five homes built in Elizabethton. He was also president of the Elizabethton Soccer Association in 2002 and 2003.
  He also said he did not have any immediate designs on the mayor's office held by his cousin.
  "It is way too soon to think about that one," LaPorte said with a laugh.
  Alsup said Tuesday night she was proud of her tenure on the City Council and with what the council had accomplished throughout the city.
  "I feel like we've accomplished quite a bit in the last eight years," Alsup said shortly after the unofficial vote totals were tallied. "I congratulate Charles LaPorte and I feel he will do a good job on the City Council."
  Elected to her first term on council in 1996, Alsup retired earlier this year as senior secretary at the University of Tennessee Agricultural Extension office in Elizabethton after more than 48 years. Alsup won her second term to council in 2000 garnering over 2,600 votes. City residents cast ballots in eight precincts of Courthouse, Central, Hunter, East Side, Happy Valley, Harold McCormick, High School, and West Side. No ballots were cast in the council race at Hunter.
  Alexander won early voting with 1,288 votes and absentee. He also won the Courthouse, East Side, Happy Valley, West Side, High School, and Harold McCormick precincts. He tied Alsup at the Central precinct where each received three votes.
  A 1990 graduate of Elizabethton High School, Alexander is employed with Edward Jones Investment office as an investment representative. He also serves as an adjunct faculty instructor in accounting, finance, and statistics at East Tennessee State University.
  The City Council was guaranteed to get at least one new face. Sitting Mayor Sam LaPorte opted not to run for a third council term.

Richard Sammons

  A certified public accountant and president of Sammons Restaurants Inc., Sammons, won his second consecutive term to council.
  "I appreciate the support of people very much," Sammons said Tuesday night. "I look forward to continuing the city government operation of harmony and as a good governing body."
  Sammons said he was not surprised about the strong showing Alexander made in the race. He said he was surprised Alsup would not be returning to the council. He added he felt LaPorte was "a great candidate and he will make a very good councilman" on the council.
  All election results are unofficial until certified by the Carter County Election Commission office.
  The winners join sitting council members Pat "Red" Bowers, Bill Carter, Janie McKinney, and Mayor Pro Tem Sam Shipley. Carter, who was appointed to council in 2003, won a two-year term to council in the August city election. All four of their seats will be up in the November 2006 city election.
  The council's next board meeting is scheduled for Nov. 11.