(WJHL) – Diana Harshbarger emerged with the GOP nomination in the state House primary races on Thursday night following a battleground of attack ads over the past several weeks.
Polls predicted Harshbarger rising and falling in the ranks amid flurries of attack ads, but the Kingsport pharmacist secured the nomination with 19.18% of votes from the district, followed by Timothy Hill (16.69%), Rusty Crowe (16.10%) and Josh Gapp pulling in fourth place (14.19%).
Out of the 12 counties that make up Tennessee’s 1st Congressional District*, Harshbarger pulled most of her votes (29%) out of Sullivan County, also securing wins out of several counties on the west end of the district (Sevier, Hamblen, Hawkins and Jefferson counties in addition to Sullivan County).
Carter Countians placed Harshbarger in third place after Rusty Crowe and Timothy Hill, while she came in second to David Hawk in Greene County by a wide margin of 1,433 votes. She follows Steve Darden, Crowe and Hill in Washington County, while Unicoi County placed her after Crowe by a margin of 621 votes.
Runner-up Hill netted his only win in Johnson County, where he won about 60% of the votes. He garnered most of his support from eastern counties such as Carter, Sullivan and Washington counties, claiming about 75% of his votes from those four counties plus Johnson County.
Third placer Crowe led the way in Carter, Hancock and Unicoi counties, following Hill by a margin of 627 votes. Crowe followed Darden in Washington County, pulling about 24% of the votes there, but falling behind Steve Darden, who secured a little more than 25% of Washington County votes.
Darden fell in fifth place behind Josh Gapp, who started the race with an early lead before eventually falling to fourth place. Darden secured a win in Washington County, leading Crowe by a slim 217 votes, and Gapp took his only county win in Cocke County.
Hawk won 5% of overall votes, but scored a big win in familiar Greene County, taking 37% of the votes, leading Harshbarger by a wide margin.
*Carter, Cocke, Greene, Hamblen, Hancock, Hawkins, Johnson, Seiver, Sullivan, Unicoi and Washington counties and a segment of Jefferson County make up the district.