In the Republican primary for the State House District 77 special election, conservative Rusty Grills was the big winner Tuesday night receiving nearly 56 percent of the vote.
In a primary race with four Republican candidates, Tennessee’s Secretary of State reports that of the 7,531 votes cast, Grills received a decisive 4,210.
The special election for House District 77 was triggered by the resignation of four-and-a-half term State Representative Bill Sanderson (R-Kenton) amid reports of scandalous same-sex philandering.
The primary for House District 77, which borders the Mississippi River and Kentucky, encompasses Dyer, Lake and most of Obion counties in northwest Tennessee, was the only state-level election held Tuesday.
The four candidates on the special Republican primary election ballot were Rusty Grills, Casey Hood, Bob Kirk and Vanedda Prince Webb.
Overall, Grills received more than twice the votes of the next closest opponent, Casey Hood. Hood received 1,918 votes from the three counties, barely beating Grills by just 37 votes in Hood’s home Obion County.
Meanwhile, Grills received 63 percent of the vote in his home county of Dyer, where he currently serves on the Board of County Commissioners.
According to online campaign finance reporting, Grills outraised the second place fundraiser by about threefold. Third-quarter and pre-primary reports combined show that Grills raised $59,000 while Bob Kirk, who landed in third place with vote totals, was second in fundraising with $21,000. Second place voter getter Hood raised about $13,000.
Fourth place Republican primary opponent, Vanedda Prince Webb, received less than 10 percent of the vote and raised under $5,000.
Representative Holt, who said he has known the Grills for 12 years since the sale of a farm tractor, congratulated Grills on the win and the way Rusty and his wife Christi conducted themselves during the race.
Congratulations to our good friends, Rusty & Christi Grills! Thank y’all for the way you conducted yourself during the…
Of his primary win, Grills told The Tennessee Star that he thinks of Revelation 4:11 and “what we are put on earth to do for God’s glory and honor.”
Grills also said that he will “stand on Christian principles, conservative values and what this country was founded on – our God-given rights to make our own choices for our lives.”
Grills expressed appreciation for his wife, Christi, his brother, mother and father who he called “the engine,” even if he may have been “the windshield.”
Grills also told The Star how thankful he was for the chance to do well by his constituents. “I am forever grateful for this opportunity, and recognize the responsibility that comes with it.”
There was a Democratic primary in District 77 on Tuesday, although Michael Smith was the only candidate. Smith received 526 votes in the three-county district and reportedly raised a total of $1,500.
The House District 77 general election has been scheduled for December 19, with early voting November 30 through December 14, 2019.
Republican candidate Rusty Grills will face off in the general election against Democrat Michael Smith and three independent candidates who filed petitions by the qualifying deadline back in September.