BLOUNTVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) — Incumbent Richard Venable has cleared a major hurdle in his bid for a third consecutive term as Sullivan County’s mayor. 

Venable narrowly defeated County Commissioner Angie Stanley in the county Republican primary, according to unofficial vote totals which show that he won by just 121 votes.

“Come on along and let’s make Sullivan County a better place,” Venable said Tuesday night. “Let’s educate our kids, let’s prepare our workforce, let’s help those young people who need help who are addicted and in a vicious circle of jail and probation, and jail and breaking the law and probation. Come along though, we’ll fix that.”

The incumbent mayor won despite being outspent by his opponent by nearly a 2-to-1 ratio through April 23, the final day of the latest campaign finance reporting period. However, Venable saw 2.5 times more in campaign donations than Stanley, whose campaign was largely self-funded.

Stanley did not run for re-election to her county commission seat, which she has held for eight years.

“Win or lose, I wouldn’t have went back and changed a thing,” Stanley said. “The citizens of Sullivan County mean a lot to me. I want Sullivan County to be a place to where my kids when they graduate college and get married will want to live.”

Venable, a former state representative, has served as Sullivan County’s mayor since 2014, when he defeated then-incumbent Steve Godsey in the GOP primary. He was also county mayor from 2002 to 2006. 

He will face two independent candidates, Val Edwards George and Bobby Weaver, in the August general election.

News Channel 11 is Your Local Election Headquarters. For in-depth coverage of the races and election news, head to the Your Local Election HQ page.