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IN OUR OPINION
May 28, 2004 12:00 am
IN OUR OPINION
An unexpectedly engaging county election season came to an end Thursday night, and the results speak volumes about what Wilson County voters expect from their elected officials.
Two races dominated the political landscape this summer, and the lessons from these two pitched campaign battles should serve as a lesson for the rest of the county's public servants.
The county property assessors' race pitted incumbent Jimmy Carter Martin against challenger Jimmy Locke in a race that ultimately appeared to be about character.
Martin, a long-time county politician, had been arrested twice for DUI since his last election. One of the cases is still pending.
Though the issue was always in the background, Locke made the choice to make the issue the centerpiece of his campaign and publicly questioned Martin's fitness for public office.
The reaction from the Martin campaign was swift, but in the end Martin lost in what political terms was a landslide victory for Locke who held a seven percentage point margin over the incumbent.
The win by Locke suggests there is a growing astuteness among Wilson County voters. The race's outcome suggests there is an expectancy in this county that elected officials will set the standard for leadership in their community and adhere to that standard at all times. Issues of character do count with Wilson County voters.
The 57th District State House Republican primary saw freshman incumbent Susan Lynn face off against political newcomer Tom Wood, a Mt. Juliet businessman.
However, much of the race was dominated by State Sen Mae Beavers, a force not only in the local GOP but statewide in Republican circles.
Beavers came out and publicly endorsed Wood, stating that Lynn and her supporters coveted Beavers' senate seat. Beavers has been battling breast cancer.
Lynn's better than 2 to 1 victory over Wood in both Wilson and Sumner County sends a message to politicians in this county who would seek to tip or even choose the outcome of elections for seats other than their own.
Apparently, voters prefer for elected officials to tend to their own affairs and stay out of others' races.
There is an old saying that a community gets what it deserves in an election. If that is the case then Wilson County voters made a real statement with this summer's election season about the direction of this community.