Election day in East Tennessee | The races to watch

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Local 8 News is tracking several election day races closely.

Knox County:

One of the most highly contested races is for Knox County sheriff. It's a position for one person to protect hundreds of thousands of people, and two men think they can do that better than current Sheriff Jimmy J.J. Jones.

Knox County has elected Jones for sheriff twice, and he's been in law enforcement for more than three decades. He says the focus of his campaign will be moving people who commit minor crimes and the mentally ill away from the Safety Center to protect tax payer pockets.

Competitor Bobby Waggoner's racing against Jones with 44 years law enforcement experience. He promises to find ways to control spending.

Sam Hammett also has experience at the Knox County Sheriff's Office. His law enforcement experience adds up to ten years. He promises to double the number of officers on the street in his first six months if elected.

UPDATE May 7, 2014: Jimmy "J.J." Jones took the Knox County Republican primary with 58% of the vote. Jones had 13,553 votes to Waggoner's 8,236 and to Sam Hammett's 1,722.

Also in Knox County, the race for criminal court clerk is wide open after Joy McCroskey announced she wouldn't seek another term. McCroskey recently faced fire for mistakes made by her staff.

Candidates include Knox County Commissioner Mike Hammond, Knox County prosecutor Jason Hunnicut and Knoxville area attorney Steve Williams.

UPDATE May 7, 2014: Knox County Commissioner Mike Hammond captured 59% of the vote and will move on to county general elections, where he does not face a challenger from the Democrats.

The Knox County Trustee's office is also trying to shake scandal after John Duncan III was forced to resign.

Candidates include Barry Hawkins, Craig Leuthold, Ed Shouse and Jim Berrier.

UPDATE May 7, 2014: Former Knox County Commissioner Ed Shouse ended up with 10,259 votes. In the August county general election, Shouse will face Democrat Jim Berrier, received 2,419 votes.

Jefferson County:

In the Jefferson County General Sessions Judge race, all eyes will be on Lu Ann Ballew.

Ballew caught headlines when she ordered parents to change their child's name from "Messiah" to "Martin." Shortly after, she was terminated as a child support magistrate.

Other candidates include Jason Randolph and W. Keith Repass.

UPDATE May 7, 2014: This was a close race between Dennis "Will" Roach II and Rick Scroggins. In the end, Roach pulled ahead with 28 votes. Jefferson County Election Commissioner Charles Gibson says unless there is a tie vote, there will be no need for a runoff in that race. The results are unofficial until certified on May 21.

Problems at the Jefferson County jail could have an impact on two races there. Former sheriff David Davenport will take on incumbent G.W. "Bud" McCoig.

McCoig was front and center when a lawsuit was filed following three inmate deaths at the jail earlier this year. McCoig said that lawsuit was meant to upset his re-election campaign.

Davenport was unseated by McCoig in the last election.

UPDATE May 7, 2014 : McCoig retained his seat with 54% of the vote. Davenport captured 3,753 votes, or 46%, not enough to unseat McCoig.

The race for mayor also weighs heavily on questions surrounding jail management.

Current mayor Alan Palmieri will face Marty Mills. The winner of that race will face democrat Mike Dockery in the August primaries.

UPDATE May 7, 2014: The race between Palmieri and Mills was tight, with only 144 votes separating the contenders. In the end, Palmieri retained his seat and will go on to face Dockery, who captured 145 votes, in the general election.

Anderson County:

The Anderson County mayor race focuses on incumbent Terry Frank and competitor Zach Bates. If elected, this would be Frank's first full four year term as mayor. She was first brought into office by special election. She says she's followed through on promises to protect Anderson County from higher taxes.

Bates has been a county commissioner for one term. He says the county needs a targeted approach for new retail along with help in rebuilding the housing market. The winner faces democrat and former state representative Jim Hackworth in the August primaries.

UPDATE May 7, 2014: While Bates brought solid competition with 40% of the vote, Terry Frank retained the lead with nearly 500 more votes than her competitor. Hackworth received 1,214 votes on the Democratic ticket.

Grainger County:

Grainger County's looking for a new sheriff to reform the jail system. It faced controversy a few months ago when three inmates escaped. Five jail employees were arrested shortly after.

Former Sheriff Scott Layel went missing around the same time. He later blamed health reasons for his absence.

Candidates include Toby Cameron who worked for the Tennessee Highway Patrol. He was suspended for filing an inaccurate police report along with sex on the job multiple times.

James K. Harville's also running. He was the Grainger County sheriff from 2006 to 2010.

Tony Williams is the last candidate. He has five years experience in law enforcement and works as a Rutledge canine officer.

UPDATE May 7, 2014: James K. Harville won this race handily with 60% of the popular vote. Williams came in with 25% of the vote and Cameron with 15%.

Cocke County:

In Cocke County Sheriff Armando Fontes will face Newport Police Chief Maurice Shults.

The two first made headlines together in 2012. Shults claimed Fontes injured him, slamming a door on him during the capture of several inmates. Fontes responded, saying yes, he did slam the door in his face but didn't hurt him. He said he'd asked Shults to get out of the way.

Fontes was elected in 2010.

UPDATE May 7, 2014: Armando Fontes captured 63% of the vote for the win, while Maurice Shults took 37% of the vote.

Local 8 News will have team coverage on election night; we're updating final numbers today. You can find them here at local8now.com/news/elections.

Remember that none of these numbers are final until certified at the end of May, and all candidates must still go through the county general election held in August. .

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