By KIN EASTER
The May 1 Republican primary loss to an incumbent didn’t undermine Jim Vaughn’s Christian faith even after he said he was led by the Holy Spirit to run for county executive. Ultimately, Vaughn said, the election wasn’t a loss.
Instead of asking God why he was sent to run for office to lose to Anthony Holt, Vaughn said God was at work throughout the process.
“Just because we were called to run doesn’t mean we were called to win,” Vaughn said. “I lost the election, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I lost. Throughout the process I prayed with good people. Good people prayed over me. I met lifelong friends that will be with me a long time. My wife and I matured in our faith lives, and people came to recognize the fact we need to regain those Christian values lacking in our society.”
Vaughn will serve the rest of his term as a county commissioner for District 6 until August. He is also a lieutenant with the Hendersonville Police Department and a Sunday school teacher at the First Baptist Church in Hendersonville.
Vaughn lost to an incumbent in a three-man race. With 33.7 percent of the vote, another candidate, Assessor of Property John Isbell, racked up 28.2 percent. Holt won with 38 percent of the vote. Vaughn said he would have won had there not been three candidates.
“Any time you have a third person in the race it’s difficult to defeat an incumbent,” Vaughn said. “I would rather have had a one-on-one election between me and Anthony Holt.”
There were no candidates in the Democratic primary. Holt will go uncontested in the general election in August. Still, Vaughn’s supporters pushed him to run as an independent write-in candidate in the general election. Vaughn declined because, according to him, he was told by the state Republican party that he would lose his bona fides if he attempted to obstruct Holt from winning in August.
“I placed calls to determine the possibility of the write-in campaign and the repercussions from the Republican Party,” Vaughn wrote to his supporters on Facebook. “I was able to make contact with the State Republican Party today and I was advised that there would be repercussions for running the write-in campaign. They said that they would likely revoke my bona fide status that would prevent me from running as a Republican in the future, therefore; I will not be seeking or promoting a write-in campaign.”
Vaughn told Sumner Home Page, however, that it would also be difficult to win a write-in campaign without a name on the ballot.
Vaughn said he wanted to make a difference in Sumner County by addressing what he called a decline in virtues within American society. Inspired by a book titled If You Can Keep It: The Forgotten Promise of American Liberty by Eric Metaxas, and shaken by the things he has seen as a law enforcement officer, Vaughn said he and his wife, Tammy, prayed over running for office.
“We felt called to run and did the best we could do,” Vaughn said. “Unfortunately, we came up short. If you have a calling to do something you have to respond to it.
“I would like to see Christian moral values in every element of society,” he continued. “I can influence others as a police officer and as a Sunday school teacher. There is nothing unique about influencing others as a county executive except that it will give you more exposure.”
Vaughn thanked his supporters whom, he said, bore the weather elements of rain, sleet, and even hail.
“I like to thank all those people after the race who have come to me and my wife with support,” Vaughn said. “It’s been extremely helpful from those who support us. I like to thank people who have made contact with me over the campaign, and the hospitality of those who have worked with me. All the supporters and volunteers put in their energy and time and supported us. It was an extremely amazing campaign.”