Ben Mallicote lost the 2nd district House of Representatives Republican primary last night in Kingsport to Tony Shipley – by 11 votes.

For the past several weeks, our team has been side-by-side with Ben and his campaign committee to help with his calling to take the next step as a public servant for the people of Kingsport. He’s been a dedicated and effective Alderman for for the past seven years and although everyone had hoped to celebrate tonight – he admitted defeat quietly. He was gracious and thankful for the support of those who worked so hard to support him and in my opinion he’s one of the best this community has to offer – despite his loss.

For many years now, Ben has earned the respect of most of Kingsport’s leaders and several organizations including the Kingsport Police Department, Fire Department and present and past mayors. It may be that many outside the city don’t know the man – or the family, but there’s more here than meets the eye or the media sound bytes about this candidate. Not only does he represent himself with a high degree of integrity, he’s been groomed by many of our communities business leaders and is supported by an amazing network of family and friends.

Several campaign supporters met in downtown Kingsport to watch a real cliffhanger. Polls closed at 8.05 and many were accessing the Sullivan County Election Commissions website to see how the votes were coming in. For about an hour, they watched votes fall from 40 and surge by 100 and finally results indicating that Ben lost by a narrow margin from with Ben losing by a narrow margin from 7,000 voters.

The mood was tense as the numbers switched places through the evening. When it was said and done, Ben did not hesitate, he didn’t stumble and he never blamed anyone or anything for the defeat. He was composed speaking to family and friends. He thanked everyone for the hard work, the support and contributions to his campaign. In fact, he left his comments optimistically stating “some of the best parties have started off as funerals.”

Ben has a sense of humor that surfaces from extraordinary character. The depth of his relationships with family and friends culminate in what will always be a enduring representative for our community and despite the loss – this young man will represent our community now and into the future – regardless of the outcome of this race.

The incumbent, Tony Shipley may enjoy his victory, but he’s also got something to think about – he almost lost. He may have some work to do because next time – he might not be so fortunate.

Ben exhibited the humility and appreciation for his supporters Thursday night. He looked weary and although I’m sure he’s ready to take a break from non-stop campaigning over the last few months, he summed it up well with on WCYB. When asked about his future and whether he would make another run at office, he said, “You never say never, but it would take a pretty compelling case to get me to go through this again.”

Thanks for your service to our community Ben. They’ll be another day and you made a lot of friends this Summer. As someone said to me earlier in the night – sometimes the only way to win an election is to lose one. Keep up the good works friend.