By Chris Gregory, Managing Editor

Trousdale County voters opted to go in a new direction, electing Stephen Chambers on Thursday as the next county mayor.

Chambers, a local attorney, defeated incumbent Carroll Carman with 1,246 votes (54.63 percent) to Carman’s 1,030 (45.16 percent). He will assume the position of county mayor on Sept. 1.

Chambers held a victory celebration at Dillehay’s Café on Thursday evening and thanked his supporters.

Chris Gregory / Hartsville Vidette
Stephen Chambers poses with supporters at Dillehay’s Cafe after being elected county mayor on Thursday. He will take office Sept. 1.

“I just want to say thank you to everyone who supported me in the campaign and came out to vote for me,” Chambers said. “Their support and words of encouragement are greatly appreciated.

“I’ve just been really touched by the support I’ve gotten… I’m blown away. I didn’t know if I had a chance to win. I’m sure tomorrow, I’ll ask my wife if I really won or not. It hasn’t really sunk in yet.”

The total from early voting had Chambers comfortably ahead 836-650 with 56 percent of the vote.

Chambers thanked Carman for a good campaign and for his service to Trousdale County.

“It’s a big thing to step up and represent the people of your county like that. I want to thank him; he ran a great race. I look forward to speaking to him before I take office and get some words of advice from him.

“I’ll listen to his input. He’s been there and has done the job. I appreciate the way he’s treated me throughout the campaign.”

Carman, who was elected in 2014 with nearly two-thirds of the vote, gathered with supporters at the Community Center as both the results and disappointment settled in.

“I’m not so much disappointed for me; I’m disappointed for our county,” Carman said. “I have done things that no other mayor has done for many decades; to fix things and move our county forward.

“The majority of our voters said that’s the wrong way to go. I’m very concerned for Stephen’s first year or two; they’ll be tough ones. It’ll take management and I trust that he will.”

Carman said he “took the Lord’s Yeses and His No’s the same” and would work to help Chambers in his transition into office.

“I’m going to be there at that office and I’ll be at my last County Commission meeting. But this sets our county back.”

Reach Chris Gregory at 615-374-3556 or cgregory@hartsvillevidette.com.