JONESBOROUGH, Tenn. (WJHL) — Incumbent Republican Freddie Malone defeated independent challenger Scott Holly Thursday to retain the 8th District Washington County Commission seat after a race that saw both men criticize the other’s character.

The Malone-Holly contest was one of just three that were contested out of 15 commission seats, compared to seven contested seats in the last county general election in 2018. Republicans also won the other two, with Marty Johnson defeating Billy Austin in the 2nd District (697 votes to 207) and David Tomita besting Democrat Ben Putland and independent Donald Feathers in the 10th District. Tomita, who served on the commission from 2010-2018, took 175 votes to Putland’s 94 and Feathers’ 88.

Malone will serve a second term after garnering 438 votes to Holly’s 258 in the district that covers much of northeast Johnson City.

Freddie Malone speaks to WJHL’s Anslee Daniels following his re-election to the Washington County Commission. (WJHL photo)

Earlier this week, the Washington County Young Republicans took the rare step of endorsing a candidate in a local election when they backed Malone. Chairman Mason Mosier dubbed the race “super consequential” and said Holly had lied about Malone’s record. Malone, for his part, brought up Holly’s felony convictions for extortion that occurred 20 years ago and said Holly’s inaccurate claims about Malone’s record showed his character hadn’t changed.

“It has been heated,” Malone said. “It’s been a long campaign, but I’m grateful to the voters of the 8th District for their faith and confidence in me in re-electing me to the county commission.”

Holly called the endorsement and comments “last-ditch efforts” and insisted his statements about Malone were accurate.

Malone said the next four years will be filled with important decisions at the country level.

“In addition to the normal stuff, we have how best to spend and invest the (American Rescue Plan Act) monies, the opioid settlement monies.”

The commission will have five first-time members: Richard Tucker (1st District), Johnson, Josh Edens (4th), Lewis Wexler (12th) and Ben Carder (15th). Carder has served since early this year after being appointed to replace Mike Ford following Ford’s death. Tomita and Larry England are new this term but have served on the commission before.

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