ROGERSVILLE — Gary Hicks earned the District 9 state House of Representatives Republican nomination Thursday in a landslide victory over challenger Melville Bailey.
Hicks, who is seeking his second full term in the House, unofficially received 5,926 votes to 1,197 for Bailey, who is completing his second term as Hawkins County mayor.
At one time Bailey and Hicks sat beside each other on the Hawkins County Commission — Bailey as mayor and Hicks as Budget Committee chairman.
Bailey’s chances probably weren’t helped by the fact that the highly unpopular 2017 $40 wheel tax came on his watch.
District 9 includes Hawkins and Hancock counties. Hicks won Hawkins County by a margin of 5016 votes to 2645. The percentage was even more lopsided in Hicks’ favor in Hancock County, 910-287.
Hicks now faces Democrat challenger Derek Winkle of Rogersville in the November state general election. Winkle received 805 Hawkins County votes in Thursday’s primary.
“We hope we get another two years, but of course we’ve got the general in November,” Hicks said.
“I just want to say thank you,” Hicks said. “I’m so proud of the margin of victory that we had, for all the voters who have supported me, not only for state rep, but all the way back to 2006 since I’ve been in (county commission) politics. I just want to say thank you so much. It’s an honor to serve and I look forward to continuing on.”
Hicks added, “Whenever I’m asked, ‘What is your agenda?’ my agenda will always be District 9, put Hawkins and Hancock counties first. That’s what I’ve always tried to do, and that’s what I’ll continue to do. As far as the other stuff, there will be time to talk about that later, but tonight we’re tickled to death about a big win and on to November.”