Circuit Court Judge Candidates Qualifying Deadline Is January 11

Lebanon, TN – The qualifying deadline for candidates seeking to complete 15th Judicial Circuit Judge John Wootten’s unexpired term will be January 11, 2020 at noon. Judge Wootten announced his retirement this week effective January 1, 2020. His successor for the unexpired term, while temporarily filled by appointment, will be elected by the voters of the 15th Judicial District.. The 15th Judicial District includes Wilson, Macon, Smith, Jackson and Trousdale counties.

All candidates whether running as a Republican or an Independent have the same deadlines. Those seeking to qualify for the election may begin picking up their petitions on January 2, 2020. The qualifying deadline will be on January 11, 2020 at noon and the withdrawal deadline is three days later on January 14, 2020 at noon.

The local Republican parties in Wilson, Macon and Smith will be holding a Republican Primary election with the March 3, 2020 Republican and Democratic Presidential Preference Primary. Republican candidates qualifying for the Circuit Court vacancy will be included in the March 3, 2020 Republican Primary. Although Trousdale and Jackson counties are in the 15th Judicial District, the Republican Parties in those counties did not call for a Republican Party Primary. All candidates, including independents, are required to file their original petition in their county of residence and a certified duplicate petition in the remaining four counties no later than the qualifying deadline of January 11, 2020 at noon.

The Democratic Party did not call for a Party Primary Election in any of the five counties. To field a Democratic Party candidate, they may meet in caucus and choose a nominee that would be included on the August 6, 2020 General Election ballot. Their caucus winners name must be submitted by the qualifying deadline on January 11, 2020 at noon in all five counties.

The first election in 2020 will be the Republican and Democratic Presidential Preference Primary and Wilson County Republican Primary. Primary elections are for nominating the political party candidate. Voters that participate in primary elections consider themselves affiliated with one of the two major parties in Tennessee. There is no primary for independent candidates. The winner of the party primary election goes on to represent their party in the general election. The general election is the election where voters make the final choice between the all the candidates for a specific office.

“We encourage anyone with questions about the party primary, the Presidential Preference Primary or any other election process or deadline to contact the Wilson County Election Commission,” said Phillip Warren, Administrator of Elections.

The Presidential Preference Primary will be the first election for Wilson County voters to take advantage of convenience vote centers on Election Day. The introduction of convenience vote centers expands the benefits of Early voting to Election Day voters. 73% of the Wilson County voters that voted in the presidential election in 2016 voted at one of the five Early Voting locations. Taking advantage of Early Voting has become a tradition for voters and the availability of Early Voting sites throughout the county will be the same and possibly increased making Early Voting more accessible than ever before.

“Convenient vote centers will provide Wilson County voters with the opportunity to choose when and where they can most conveniently cast their vote. Our goal has always been to make improvements in election administration that create the best voting experience possible for the voters of Wilson County. Convenience vote centers will be a positive initiative for our county,” commented Warren.

To learn more about primaries and general elections, qualifications for offices and other elections related information visit

The Election Commission offers programs about elections and voting for any interested group. To schedule a presentation, ask questions about election related issues or learn how you can be involved contact the Wilson County Election Commission at 615-444-0216 or

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