Despite a war chest of more than $36,000 in campaign donations, and a strong push for votes on Knox County Republican Primary day Tuesday, March 3, newcomer Clayton Wood was unable to defeat incumbent 5th District Knox County Commissioner John Schoonmaker.
The vote was close, but Schoonmaker won by 210 votes. Final tallies between absentee, Primary Day and early voting had Schoonmaker with 2,662 votes to Wood’s 2,452.
Schoonmaker, who lives in Tan Rara Oeste subdivision as does Wood, will face Democratic challenger and Farragut resident Kimberly Peterson in the General Election Aug. 6. Peterson was unopposed in the primary.
“I would like to thank all of you for your votes, your encouragement and your prayers,” Schoonmaker said. “I have spent many tireless years working on behalf of the citizens of the 5th District, and I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to put my knowledge and experience to work for our community once again.
“I take this job very seriously, and I truly appreciate your confidence in me. We still have another election to win, and I hope that I can count on your support on Aug. 6,” he added.
Breaking down the vote by local precincts, in Ward 65E Schoonmaker received 458 versus Wood’s 395; in Ward 65W, Schoonmaker received 419 to Wood’s 440; in Ward 66N, Schoonmaker had 715 while Wood had 593; and in Ward 66S, Schoonmaker ended with 648 compared to Wood’s 500.
Wood made an informal concession speech on Facebook almost 24 hours after Schoonmaker was declared the unofficial winner: “I want to take this opportunity to thank all of those who supported me in this election cycle. This was not the outcome I anticipated, but it was also not due to any lack of incredible friends and volunteers and helpers.”
He went on to credit many who helped him campaign, most especially his wife, Danielle Wood.
Wood and Schoonmaker both attended the monthly Concord-Farragut Republican meeting Thursday, March 5, in Fruition Café, where Schoonmaker said Woods congratulated him “on a good campaign” and pledged support in the upcoming General Election.
Other GOP Primary races saw Kyle Ward beat Scott Broyles in the 4th District Knox County Commission Republican Primary, 2,803 to 1,794. Ward will face Democrat Todd Frommeyer (unopposed in the primary) in August.
Dems’ Presidential breakdown
Presidential Primary winners in Knox County were GOP incumbent Donald Trump, who received 32,973 votes, and former Vice President Joe Biden, who narrowly edged out U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders 14,877 to 14,716 among Democrats.
Breaking down the Democratic Presidential Primary vote by local precincts, in Ward 65E Biden — who also won easily statewide — received 356 versus Sanders’ 260; in Ward 65W, Biden got 357 to Sanders’ 157; in Ward 66N, Biden received 151 while Sanders had 147; and in Ward 66S, Biden ended with 474 to Sanders’ 243.
Other Knox GOP Primaries
In the GOP Property Assessor Primary, incumbent John Whitehead won handily with 23,639 votes, beating Farragut native Tina Marshall, who had 9,470.
Whitehead has no Democratic or Independent opposition in the August General Election.
David Buuck won the Knox County Law Director GOP Primary with 19,832 votes, beating opponent Cathy Quist Shanks, who had 13,217.
Buuck will face Independent Jackson Fenner in August.
Incumbent 6th Judicial District Div. II Judge Kyle Hixson won with 22,416 votes, beating challenger Wesley Stone, who had 10,930 votes. Hixson has no Democratic or Independent opposition in August.
Incumbent Public Defender Eric Lutton also won, beating challenger Rhonda Lee 17,321 to 14,569. Lutton will face Independent Sherif Guindi in August.