By Jim Cooper Editor

Times-Record-Roane County Reporter

John Greathouse pulled off the biggest surprise on primary election night by knocking off incumbent Richard Lance in the Republican race for Roane County Commission.

Greathouse defeated Lance by 63 votes. David Combs was a close third, 24 votes behind Lance.

Lance was seeking his second six-year term on the commission.

Greathouse, a 52-year-old school bus mechanic from Spencer, was making his first run at political office. He will face Democrat nominee Robert "Tex" Flint, who defeated Jerry Linkinoggor by 48 votes Tuesday, in the general election.

"I was somewhat surprised," Greathouse said of the results, which were close until the final two precincts were counted. "I was ahead, I was behind. It makes it exciting."

Greathouse said he had a lot of help with his successful campaign.

"I asked God to help me make the decision before I even started running," he said. "And when I went out and knocked on doors, a lot of people knew me. I give credit to my family and all who voted for me."

Lance said he accepted the decision and endorsed Greathouse, a friend and fellow volunteer fireman.

"The people spoke," Lance said. "John ran a good campaign. I think he will be a good candidate for the Republican party in the fall."

His opponent will be Flint, a 59-year-old Spencer resident and retired teacher. Flint had also sought a commission seat in 2000, finishing third in a five-man Democrat primary.

Flint singled out two issues that may have resonated with voters who gave him their support.

"The notion that I believe I can get this thing going a little bit economically and that I have the time to devote to the job probably had as much to do with it as anything," he said.

Flint credited Linkinoggor's filing for energizing his own campaign. He said he had expected Lance to be his opponent in the fall, but will not alter his strategy.

"I won't change anything," he said. "My strong points now are what they were. The message has to be the same."

In the other contested county race, incumbent Democrat Mark Sergent pulled away to defeat Democrat challenger Kevin Postalwait of Grantsville by 191 votes and win a second four-year term as prosecuting attorney. The 44-year-old Walton resident will be unopposed in the fall.

"I ran a positive campaign," Sergent said. "I'm a public servant and I hope to continue serving my friends and neighbors. I'm faced with tough decisions and things I have to do. I'll continue to make the hard decisions."

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