Hensley Runs Strong
BY KRISTEN BUCKLES
State Rep. David Hawk, R-5th, will battle Democratic former state Rep. Eddie Yokley in the November General Election after Hawk won Thursday's 5th District Republican Primary. Yokley was unopposed in the Democratic primary.
State Rep. Jeremy Faison, R-11th, of Cosby, won the GOP Primary for the 11th District and will face Democrat Marjorie Ramsey, who was unopposed.
Rep. Hawk, a former Greeneville businessman who has held the 5th District post since 2002, received 3,093 votes to outdistance fellow-candidates Ted Hensley, with 2,705 votes, Bradley Mercer, with 1,311, and Duncan Cave, with 665.
Combining early voting, absentee votes, and Election Day votes, nearly 11,000 Greene Countians cast ballots in the election: a total that represents almost 27 percent of the county's registered voters.
Standing on what he jokingly said were shaking knees, Hawk grinned and shook hands with everyone at the Greene County Election Commission Office Thursday evening immediately following the final precinct tallies.
Less than five percent of the vote separated Hawk's total from Hensley's total.
Hawk noted in an interview that he had not been certain "how the numbers were going to break down" when going into Election Day against three other candidates.
He also said that "I would not wish the last four months of my life on anyone. This has been an extremely challenging time.
"I'm grateful that the folks of Greene County continue to support me and realize who I am as a person."
His comment was an apparent reference to the fact that he is facing a domestic assault charge filed March 18 in connection with an incident in which he is alleged to have struck his wife, Crystal Goan Hawk, in the face with his hand, knocking her to the floor.
He pleaded not guilty to the charge at his initial appearance in Greene County General Sessions Court. He also released a brief statement that day in which he said, "I am innocent and did not do what has been alleged against me. I did not harm my wife."
He is scheduled to appear in General Sessions Court on Sept.11 for a preliminary hearing in the case. No trial date has been set as of this time.
Meanwhile, in a separate matter, U.S. Magistrate Judge William B. Mitchell Carter ruled July 19 in a civil case in federal court that Crystal Hawk violated both the federal Wiretap Act and the Tennessee Wiretap Act by installing spyware on the computers of her former husband, J. Roy Klumb, without his knowledge, for the purpose of intercepting his e-mail.
The ruling was based on evidence presented by the opposing parties in a December 2011 bench trial. The civil case grew out of a civil lawsuit filed by Klumb, a former Greeneville businessman, against his former wife.
In his sometimes very critical 46-page judgment in the matter, Judge Carter also found that Crystal Hawk had falsified documents including a prenuptial agreement she had signed with Klumb before they were married in 2006.
'I THINK FOLKS KNOW ME'
"I'm sure there was an impact [from the domestic assault charge]," Rep. Hawk said Thursday evening in an interview, "but I think when it was all said and done, folks know me.
"They know what I'm capable of doing; they know what I'm not capable of doing."
He added that he will continue to run his campaign on the slogan, "You know me. You know my heart."
"I've got a record of service over the last 10 years where my main focus has been on helping people. That's what I will continue to do," he said.
"I'm looking forward to my three primary opponents coming together and us working together to make sure that we elect a Republican in November."
Hawk noted that the state legislature has changed in the past two years to become firmly controlled by GOP majorities in both the state Senate and the state House of Representatives.
The change, he said, could put a Republican legislator in a better position than a Democratic legislator to lead and to accomplish goals in Nashville.
Yokley formerly served in the 11th District from 2002-2010 but now lives in the 5th District following redistricting by the Tennessee General Assembly that followed the 2010 U.S. Census.
He ran unopposed in the Democratic primary and said he is ready to move forward with a positive campaign into November, saying that he will focus on the issues and avoid negative campaigning.
He said Thursday night in an interview that he is "elated" to be back in the election process.
Yokley emphasized a need for change from the current major divide between parties, saying that all should be able to accomplish things together.
"I'm looking for Democrats, Independents, Republicans - even Tea Party people. I think we've all got good and bad ideas. We need to co-mingle those together and come up with solutions."
Hensley, who placed a strong second to Hawk in the 5th District GOP Primary, said in an interview that he will now turn his attention to re-energizing the County Commission's Long-Range Planning Committee, of which he is chair.
Hensley's campaign blanketed Greene County with various forms of advertisements, in addition to mobilizing numerous volunteers who attended events or waved from roadsides in "elecTED" T-shirts.
On Thursday, his deep tan stood testimony to the hours he had spent campaigning under the summer sun. However, he gave no indication that he may run again in a future state-level election, despite the close vote.
"I'm not looking for a career in politics," he said, calling himself an entrepreneur and concerned citizen.
Greene County, he said, needs a "major uplifting" that he said he has not seen from current leadership.
"I'm extremely proud of the job that our volunteers and all those who have stepped up and supported me one way or the other from the very beginning," he said.
"I'm real proud of the way we behaved in this campaign. I feel we've done a great job."
Hensley replied, "No comment," when asked Thursday night if he would support Hawk as the Republican nominee in the November elections, but had earlier commented that he would have been "more than happy to support Mercer, had he been the nominee."
Hensley noted that the similarities between himself and Mercer may have divided the vote.
"I am pleased for everybody that ran a good, clean race, and appreciate my opponents keeping it that way," Mercer said in a telephone interview on Thursday evening.
"Obviously, I wanted to win, but I'm happy for the victor and wished Rep. Hawk a message of congratulations earlier by phone."
"I had made a pledge to the Republican Executive Committee that I would support the nominee. I'm a man of my word, and that's what I intend to do."
"It was a good first time for me, and I was pleased to see I had a good margin of support," he said, adding that voters may one day see his name on another ballot.
The Greeneville Sun was unable to reach Cave for comment.
A small portion of western Greene County remains in the 11th District, where incumbent state Rep. Jeremy Faison, of Cosby, won the Republican Party nomination over Phil Morgan Jr.
Within those six Greene County precincts, Faison won 680 votes to Morgan's 165.
"Phil did a great job," Faison said in a telephone interview Thursday night. "He ran a good, clean campaign.
"Secondly, I'd just like to say, 'Thank you, Lord, for the victory.' Thank you to my friends and supporters -- I'm humbled."
He added that he will continue to push forward with a positive message, focusing on improving the teacher evaluation system and creating jobs.
Faison will face Marjorie Ramsey, of Newport, who was unopposed in the Democratic Party Nomination.
Ramsey received 140 complimentary votes in Greene County's 11th District precincts.
"I'm going to be out there tomorrow working hard," she said in a telephone interview on Thursday night. "I've got a lot of work to do, and I'm going to be out there working."
She noted that she will focus her campaign on jobs, education and helping businesses to grow.
Meanwhile, Morgan said, "Never say never" when it comes to running for election in the future.
"I've enjoyed the process. It's been a learning experience for me. It's been an enjoyable thing to participate in an election," he said in a telephone interview.
"I really thought I could get out here and make a difference in my community. I love it; I want to see it thrive and prosper."