Locally, Haslam overtook Democratic candidate and businessman Mike McWherter in early voting in the Tennessee governor’s race and overall by garnering 82 percent of the vote. The closest Independent candidate was Carl Twofeathers Whitaker II, who got 92 votes.
According to reports, 21,749 Bradley County residents voted in early and absentee balloting as well as Tuesday.
Rodney Dillard received 58.21 percent, or 776 votes, over Jerry Johnson Jr.’s 41.64 percent, or 555 votes, to take the 5th District Bradley County school board seat left vacant by the death of longtime member Terry McGuire.
“I would like to thank the voters and volunteers who helped. I also want to thank Jerry Johnson for a clean race and keeping the focus on the kids in the school system. I look forward to working with the school board and for our children,” said Dillard.
Johnson commended and congratulated Dillard as well.
“It was a good race and we both worked very hard. At the end of the day, he garnered more votes. I will support him on his future endeavors and also would like to thank those who helped and voted for me,” said Johnson.
Voters also made a choice for 3rd District congressman.
Republican Chuck Fleischmann handily defeated Democrat John Wolfe.
Both are Chattanooga attorneys.
Wolfe got 3,437, or just a little over 16 percent, to Fleischmann’s 14,806, or 71.20 percent of the Bradley County vote.
In the 3rd District race, the closest Independent contender was Savas T. Kyriakidis with 1,440 votes.
Complimentary votes going to 9th District Senator-elect Mike Bell, 22nd District House of Representatives member Eric Watson and 24th District Rep. Kevin Brooks were also tallied.
Bell got 17,771 votes for 99.13 percent, Watson received 7,017 votes or 98.73 percent and Brooks rallied with 10,647 votes or 99.12 percent.
A Tennessee Constitution change regarding wording to protect the rights of Tennesseans hunting and fishing privileges was also on the ballot Tuesday.
Voting for allowing the change in language in the amendment were 93.25 percent of the voters, or 17,104.
Early voting totals were 11,172 versus voting-day totals of 10,307.
Polls closed at 8 p.m. and election officials from the 17 Bradley County precincts began their trek to the Bradley County Elections Office to return polling place equipment.
It took only a short time for the total count to be completed.
Commissioners were pleased with the voter participation, including early voting, absentee voting and Election Day visits to local polling places.
“I’m very pleased,” said Milan Blake, “We had three uncontested races and one local school board position on the ballot and projected earlier that 20,000 people would vote.”
Commissioner Dana Burgner also commented.
“It was an excellent turnout — even more total votes than the Bradley County General Election in August,” said Burgner, who attributed a part of the early voting increase to the Mobile Voting Precinct which was established at BI-LO Plaza.
The MVP yielded an increase in early voting when commissioners removed Blythe-Bower School as an early voting site in southern Bradley County.
State Rep. Kevin Brooks, R-Cleveland, representing the 24th Legislative District who ran unopposed on Tuesday’s ballot, e-mailed the following statement: “My family and I are grateful for the thousands of friends and neighbors who went to the polls and voted for us to return to Nashville. Bradley Co. voters joined with fellow Tennesseeans all across our great state in sending an overwhelming majority back to the state House of Representatives. Coupled with the governor's win and the previous Senate majority, those you have elected to serve are now poised to make significant changes in state government. Bradley Co. has spoken, Tennessee has spoken and the nation has spoken. I am grateful to have been called to serve and elected to govern. Thank you Cleveland and Bradley Co. for your vote of confidence and I pledge to serve you with integrity."