Spangler, Armstrong win big in primary

Knox County Sheriff Tom Spangler

Incumbent Knox County Sheriff Tom Spangler soundly defeated challenger Jimmy “J.J.” Jones in the Republican primary race on Tuesday, locking in a second four-year term of office.

Another big winner in Tuesday’s election was Richard “Bud” Armstrong, who defeated fellow Republican and incumbent Clarence E. Pridemore Jr. in a three-way race for Chancery Court, Part II. 

Relatively few offices were contested in the Democratic Primary, as the Democrats are fielding only a few candidates this year.

The most watched Democratic contest was the three-way battle to be the Democratic nominee for County Mayor in the August 4 general election. 

Debbie Helsey appeared to win handily over opponents Tyler Givens and Bob Fischer, which means she will face incumbent County Mayor Glenn Jacobs in August.

The race for Sheriff was considered to be a close one by many observers. Spangler was the incumbent but Jones was a former incumbent who was term-limited from office in 2018 after two terms. The law specifies that limits only apply to consecutive terms, opening the door for Jones to seek a third term.

In a lot of ways, the candidates were considered to be so similar as to be indistinguishable. Voters apparently disagreed with that assessment, however, with nearly 20,828 people casting ballots for Spangler as opposed to 8,400 for Jones. 

Richard “Bud” Armstrong

Incumbent Chancellor Pridemore came in last in his three-way race to retain the post in Chancery Court.

Armstrong, a longtime GOP politico, garnered 14,004 votes compared to Pridemore’s 5,346 votes. R. Deno Cole, an attorney, picked up 7,833 votes. 

Pridemore had drawn flak from many attorneys and court watchers due to the number of times his opinions were reversed on appeal, and when the Knoxville Bar Association polled its members, they ranked Armstrong the lowest, Pridemore in the middle and Cole the highest.

For full election results, check out the Knox County Election Commission’s website at 

Published on May 4, 2022.