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January 18, 2018

Vacancy left by judge’s passing to be filled by special election

Barbara Womack
Grainger Today Correspondent

SEVIERVILLE –A special election will be held in August to fill the vacancy left by the death of Circuit Court Judge Richard R. Vance.

Judge Vance passed away Dec. 3. He was 76. His seat is being filled by interim Judge James Gasps, who was appointed by Gov. Bill Haslam during Vance’s illness.

Grainger County Administrator of Elections Gina Hipsher said she attended a conference last week and was informed about the procedure for filling the vacancy.

Since it occurred after qualifying for the May 1 primary, it will be handled in the Aug. 2 general election. Qualifying will begin Jan. 5 and continue through April 5. The process for filling another vacancy in the 4th Judicial District has already begun. Circuit Judge Ben W. Hooper II recently retired, and Carter Moore of Cocke County was appointed by Haslam to the position. He has already filed his petition for the Republican primary.

Hipsher said Democrats in the four-county district will also hold a primary. The counties are Cocke, Grainger, Jefferson and Sevier.

The terms of Vance and Hooper will expire in 2022.

Vance served 20 years on the bench. He was appointed by Gov. Don Sundquist in 1997. He was elected in 1998, 2006 and 2014. Prior to his judgeship, he served more than 18 years as chief assistant district attorney general for the 4th Judicial District.

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