Erlanger hospital board Chairman Bob Johnson has decided against seeking to succeed the late state Rep. Jack Sharp, R-East Ridge.
Mr. Johnson, a former East Ridge mayor, said he withdrew his name from consideration for the Hamilton County Commission's interim appointment and will not qualify for this year's election.
He said he would rather stay close to home and be near his wife in case she has health problems. He also mentioned his responsibilities with Erlanger.
"What I'd like to do and what I should do are two different things," Mr. Johnson said. "You have to get your priorities in order." He said whoever succeeds Rep. Sharp in the 30th District will have big shoes to fill.
East Ridge Mayor Vince Dean has picked up qualifying papers and submitted his name to county commissioners for possible appointment.
Mike Steele, a pastor and leader in several community groups, said he would serve as an interim appointment but would not seek a full term.
The commission plans to appoint a replacement Thursday, April 6 is the qualifying deadline for the Aug. 3 primary election. The general election is Nov. 7.
COUNTY COMMISSION FORUM TONIGHT
Candidates for Hamilton County Commission District 5 will appear at a 6 p.m. forum today at the Brainerd Recreation Center.
County Commissioner Greg Beck and Cynthia Coleman are seeking the Democratic nomination. Bernie Miller is running as a Republican.
The Washington Hills Neighborhood Association, the Hamilton County Voters Council and the North Brainerd Community Council are hosts for the event.
THE 60-SECOND CAMPAIGN PLATFORM
Republican candidates for office this year got to introduce themselves and talk about their campaigns at the Pachyderm Club on Monday.
Multiple candidates spoke, including several facing opposition for Hamilton County Commission seats.
Terry Conley, who is running in the Hixson area District 3, said he thinks the school board and County Commission have enough money to work with, and he would not support tax increases.
Red Burrows, who is challenging Commission Chairman Larry Henry in District 7, said he would not flip-flop on important issues and questioned last year's county tax increase.
"Is it really for the children or is it for the (school) administrators?" Mr. Burrows asked.
District 8 Commissioner Curtis Adams said it had been "one year, one month and 13 days" since he switched to the Republican Party, and that it was the best decision he has made. He also voiced support for Hamilton County School Superintendent finalist Jim Scales.
"He's going to find out that he's got a lot of people who believe just like he does, that we've got to have a great school system," Mr. Adams said.
District 1 Commissioner Fred Skillern talked about his experience on the school board. He said that while he was there, board members did things that had not been done.
"We built new schools using the fund balance," he said. "We didn't have to raise taxes."
Laura Oakley , his opponent in District 1, stressed her leadership role in community groups and introduced her son, who she said would join the next generation of leaders.
She said the people in her district "expect to have accessible leadership."
SHERIFF CANDIDATE IN SODDY-DAISY
Hamilton County sheriff candidate Billy Long will meet and greet people in Soddy-Daisy today.
The Democrat will be at the town's community center from 5-9 p.m. Food, drinks and entertainment will be provided. The center is on Depot Street next to the Kids Park playground.
KURITA WANTS DEBATE
State Sen. Rosalind Kurita, D-Clarksville, said Thursday that she continues to seek a debate with her rival in the U.S. Senate Democratic primary, U.S. Rep. Harold Ford Jr., D-Tenn.
"I take it that he's afraid to debate me," Sen. Kurita said in an interview.
Carol Andrews, campaign spokeswoman for Ford, declined comment.
Sen. Kurita was in Chattanooga on Thursday for a series of campaign appearances, including planned stops at Memorial Hospital and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
Sen. Kurita, a registered nurse, said a main difference between her and the Memphis congressman is her experience as a worker in Tennessee.
"I bring life experiences to this race," she said.
The primary election for the seat being vacated by Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., is Aug. 3