Chattanooga businessman Greg Vital has made it known that he intends to seek the 10th District Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Andy Berke—the same seat that Rep. Vince Dean was thoroughly expected to seek. However, as the Chattanooga Times Free Press also reports, Dean is being encouraged by House Speaker Beth Harwell and Majority Leader Gerald McCormick to stay put.
This would mean a shake-up in the developing GOP primary for House District 30, which would be an open seat if Dean were to run for the Senate. East Ridge Mayor Brent Lambert and Larry Grohn have picked up petitions, and there has been talk of a couple more candidates. Not many Republican candidates would be likely to stay in it against the incumbent, though. Two Democrats have also picked up papers to run: Brock Bennington and Brian White.
Collegedale resident Ray Minner, who has also been considering a run in the 30th after redistricting placed him in that district, says there is something telling in the GOP leaders’ actions:
Doesn’t anyone besides me find it very, very curious that “the two top House Republicans,” who have surely known for quite a long time that Vince Dean was planning to run for the Senate, said nothing, and even allowed him to make his announcement and pick up papers. Then suddenly, when Greg Vital decides HE wants that seat, they start to lean on Vince to stay in the House. Coincidence? Only the most naive would think so.
Meanwhile, it looks like voters in the new 28th District will have a contested primary in both of the two major parties. Democratic Reps. Tommie Brown and JoAnne Favors were placed into the same minority-majority district, and each has said she will seek the nomination. Two Republicans have also pulled petitions: Johnny Horne, who has run unsuccessfully for local and state offices in years past; and Basil Marceaux Jr., who previously ran in the old 29th District against Favors.
That’s not, by the way, the Basil Marceaux (“dot com”) you may be thinking of. The elder Marceaux is running for the state House as well, but in the 27th District, where he will challenge incumbent Rep. Richard Floyd in the GOP primary. (Trivia time: can anyone name other instances in which a parent and child were running in neighboring legislative districts in the same election?) Marceaux will be on the ballot on Super Tuesday too, as a candidate for Hamilton County Mayor.
In the new 29th, which covers eastern and northern Hamilton County, former sessions judge Mike Carter has so far drawn no opponents for the open seat. If this stays true, he will have pulled off quite a feat, given the rich swath of Republican votes it holds. The qualifying deadline is noon on April 5th.
The primary elections will be held on August 2nd.