Field of potential candidates for Kingsport election grows

Matthew Lane • Jan 18, 2019 at 9:35 AM

KINGSPORT — Three more potential candidates have picked up petitions to run in the upcoming city election this May, including the son of a former mayor and the brother of a former football coach.

Municipal elections in Kingsport, Bristol and Bluff City will take place on May 21. In Kingsport, four seats are up for grabs on the Board of Mayor and Aldermen: ones currently held by Mayor John Clark, Vice-Mayor Mike McIntire, Alderman Joe Begley and Alderman Tommy Olterman.

Three seats on the Kingsport Board of Education are also on the ballot: ones currently held by Todd Golden, Susan Lodal and Karen Reed-Wright.


According to information from the Sullivan County Election Commission, three more potential candidates have picked up petitions to run in the city election: James Phillips and Chris Mills for the BMA and Shelton Clark for the BOE.

Phillips, the son of former Kingsport Mayor Dennis Phillips, picked up his paperwork on Jan. 11. Phillips is a local landlord and entrepreneurer; he’s served on a number of boards within the city and has managed Racks by the Tracks for the past 10 years.

This is his first time running for office and believes it’s time for some new blood on the BMA.

“I’m at a point in my life where I think I’ve got some things under control and it’s the right time to run,” Phillips said. “It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, but I felt like I didn’t have enough experience then to jump out into the deep end.”

Mills, who works in maintenance at a local Walmart Supercenter, picked up his petition on Jan. 10. Mills has lived in Kingsport the past four years, but he has been attached to Northeast Tennessee for more than 30. Though he considered running for the Sullivan County Commission last year, this will be his first time running for political office.

“Ever since I was a little kid I’ve always wanted to run for office,” Mills said. “I think it’ll be advantageous to have a common man filling a seat.”

The third person to pick up a petition — on Jan. 10 — was local businessman Clark, who along with his son operates the Model City Tap House in downtown Kingsport. Clark is also the brother of former Dobyns-Bennett football coach Graham Clark.

Like the other potential candidates, this is Clark’s first run at public office.

“Both of my children went through the city school system and I retired a couple of years ago, so I’ve got the time to (serve) and I’ve got a real strong interest in our education program,” Clark said.


Vice-Mayor Mike McIntire, first elected to the BMA in 2011, filed his petition to run for mayor on Jan. 10. Mayor John Clark recently announced he would not be seeking a third term in office.

Alderman Tommy Olterman, elected to the BMA four years ago, filed his petition on Jan. 11. Darrell Duncan, who served two years on the BMA from 2015 to 2017, filed his petition on Jan. 11 as well. Todd Golden is seeking re-election to the BOE, filing his petition on Jan. 11.

The final potential candidate in the upcoming city election is Brian Barker, an insurance agent and owner of BBI Insurance Group of Kingsport. Barker picked up a petition to run for alderman on Dec. 27, but has yet to file the paperwork.

Candidates have until noon on Feb. 21 to file their petitions.

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