published Wednesday, February 10th, 2010

Hamilton County: No primary for chancellor race


by Matt Wilson

There won’t be a primary election to replace Hamilton County Chancellor Howell Peoples, who announced his retirement in January, according to county Election Commission attorney Chris Clem.

Gov. Phil Bredesen doesn’t plan to issue a writ of election in the race until after Chancellor Peoples vacates the seat at the end of March, Mr. Clem said. By that time, the ballots for the May county primary will have been printed and sent to overseas voters so it will be too late to get the chancellor race on the ballot, he said.

State law says that the governor should issue a writ of election once the seat is vacated. If the governor issues the writ in early April, the general election for the seat will be in August. If the Democratic or Republican parties wish to nominate a candidate for the seat, they will have to hold caucuses, Mr. Clem said.

If, for some reason, Gov. Bredesen waits to issue the writ until it is too late to include the race on the August ballot, the election will be in August 2012, he said.

In the interim, the governor will appoint someone to take the seat.

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