Rusk County voters will have various options in next year’s Republican primary election.
As of Monday’s filing deadline, the county judge, county treasurer, district clerk, Precinct 2 justice of the peace and Precinct 5 justice of the peace positions were contested, according to Charlie Williamson, Rusk County Republican party chairman.
“We’re encouraged to have some contested elections to give voters an opportunity to learn about the candidates running for office and be involved in the county government process,” Williamson said.
Andy Vinson and incumbent Karen Dobbs Vaughn have filed to run for county treasurer; Terri Willard, Amy Whetstone Medford and Sharon Collins have filed for district clerk; Angela Bell and incumbent Bonnie Miller have filed for Precinct 2 justice of the peace; incumbent Joe Sorrells and Johnie Ratcliff have filed for Precinct 5 justice of the peace; and Charles Thompson will face incumbent Joel Hale for county judge.
Vinson, 61, retired after nearly 40 years in the banking business.
He said he believes his business experience would be valuable to the county treasurer office, along with his background in technology.
Additionally, he said, he has a finance degree, so he is familiar with that part of the job.
Ms. Vaughn, 50, said she has enjoyed serving Rusk County residents.
Ms. Medford, 44, works as assistant county auditor.
She said she’s been with Rusk County almost 19 years, and the district clerk position gives her an opportunity to advance and branch out into the court process.
Ms. Willard, 49, works for the district clerk office.
She said she cares about the office and how it is run.
“I enjoy my job, and it’s important to me. I would love the opportunity to serve as district clerk,” she said.
Ms. Collins, 64, also works in the district clerk office. She said she feels like she is very experienced.
“I’ve been here a number of years. … I feel like I could do the people of Rusk County a very good job,” she said.
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Ms. Bell, 41, serves as owner/operator in the oil field.
She said she has lived in the area all of her life by choice, and thought it was time to do something for the community and give back.
Ms. Bell said she also felt that running for the position was her next endeavor in life.
Ms. Miller, 73, said she wants to run again and serve the people in her precinct.
She said she tries to do justice for plaintiffs and defendants and be fair to both sides.
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Ratcliff, 64, works for the Rusk County Sheriff’s Office.
He said if elected, he plans to help the county save money.
Sorrells, 73, said he has appreciated the opportunity to serve and hopes people place their trust in him again.
Thompson, 50, said he believes he has ideals that he can bring to the county judge position.
County Judge Joel Hale, 62, was not immediately available Monday night for comment.
Others who filed for offices as Republicans are incumbent Joyce Lewis-Kugle for county clerk; incumbent Mike Pepper for Precinct 2 commissioner; incumbent Harold Howell for Precinct 4 commissioner; incumbent Chad Dean for County Court at Law; incumbent Jerdy Wolverton for Precinct 1 justice of the peace; incumbent Darlene Childress for Precinct 4 justice of the peace; and incumbent Jackie Risinger for Precinct 3 justice of the peace.
No Rusk County candidates filed to run as Democrats.
Mount Enterprise Municipal Court Judge Rand Cates has filed to run for Precinct 5 justice of the peace as a libertarian.