Tag Archives: Gloria Johnson

Massey wins special election in Senate District 6

Republican candidate Becky Duncan Massey will be the next state senator in the Sixth District, according to unofficial election results posted by the Knox County Election Commission. With about 35 percent of precincts reporting, Democratic Party candidate Gloria Johnson had received 34 percent of the vote to Massey’s 67 percent in the heavily Republican district.

Turnout has been light throughout the election, reports David Oatney.

The seat was made vacant in July when former Sen. Jamie Woodson resigned to take a job in the education advocacy nonprofit SCORE. Sue Atchley served as the interim senator. The 6th remains in the Republican column, so the ratio of Republicans to Democrats remains unchanged.

Massey will be up for re-election in 2012, as the even-numbered Senate seats are on the ballot.

Senate District 6 Special Election Tuesday

Here is the Tuesday, November 8 ballot for Tennessee’s Sixth Senate District, clipped from the Tennessee Ticket State Senate voter guide:

District 6

Gloria Johnson

Becky Duncan Massey

The City of Knoxville holds its mayoral runoff on Tuesday as well, and there are other municipal elections scheduled around the state. It’s getting a little late now, but check with your county election commission to determine for sure if there is an election in your area.

Massey nominated by GOP in Senate District 6

Becky Duncan Massey bested two Republican rivals for the nomination in the special election to replace former Sen. Jamie Woodson in the Sixth Senate District. Knoxville City Councilwoman Marilyn Roddy received 39 percent of the vote to Massey’s 49 percent, according to unofficial results published in the Knoxville News Sentinel. Victoria DeFreese ended up with the remaining 12 percent.

Massey will face Democratic Party nominee Gloria Johnson in the November 8 general election. The district is currently drawn to favor Republican candidates, so Johnson will have to meet an uphill challenge.

Massey is from a well-known political family. Her father, former Congressman John J. Duncan Sr., was also a former mayor of Knoxville. Massey’s brother, U.S. Rep. John J. (“Jimmy”) Duncan Jr., currently represents the Second District. And her nephew, John Duncan III, is Trustee of Knox County. It is therefore almost excusable that the newspaper led its “subhed” with Massey’s maiden name, as pictured below:

In case there's any doubt, Massey is of the Duncan family.

As is so often the case, turnout was critical in this special election. When so few citizens bother to show up, a campaign with a solid get-out-the-vote apparatus can wield significant leverage.

The City of Knoxville also held elections on Tuesday. The top two vote-getters in the mayoral race, Madeline Rogero and Mark Padgett, will face each other in a runoff election on November 8.

Knox race at sixes and sevens over residency issue (updated)

Knox County Democratic Party chair Gloria Johnson announced her candidacy for the Senate District 6 race, and almost immediately fell into a swirl of controversy over her eligibility to hold the seat.

Records published by the Knox County Election Commission show that Johnson resides on Brice Street, which is in District 7, not District 6. (District 7 is currently represented by Sen. Stacey Campfield.)

Multiple online posts by supporters and detractors indicate confusion over applicable sections of state law on the matter. For example, TCA § 2-14-204 states:

Only a qualified voter of the district represented shall be eligible to succeed to the vacant seat.

However, Knoxville area blogger R. Neal points out that this may refer to county commission appointments, not special elections. This appears to be correct, as the preceding title (2-14-203) defines how interim successors are chosen, and the word “succeed” in 204 appears to continue the thought. (Sue Atchley currently holds the seat on an interim basis after being appointed by the Knox County Commission.)

But Neal then cites TCA § 3-1-102(f):

A candidate for election to the office of senator shall be required to reside in the senatorial district from which such candidate seeks to be elected for one (1) year immediately preceding the election.

Sounds simple enough, but the confusion renews when considering districts that only partially compose a county. For members of the House of Representatives, the requirements are clear: the representative needs only to live in the county, not the actual district, when a county elects 2 or more direct representatives.

In those counties entitled to elect two (2) or more direct representatives and divided by § 3-1-103 into representative districts, a candidate for election to the office of representative shall not be required to reside in the representative district from which such candidate seeks to be elected, but shall be a resident of the county.

Tenn. Code Ann. § 3-1-104

There is apparently no such provision afforded to senators from multi-district counties.

Johnson says she plans to relocate into the district by the general election date, which is in early November. Such a move raises questions among political observers who contend that the 6th Senate District is unfailingly Republican, and therefore maintain that a campaign by any Democrat is arguably quixotic. It seems like a lot of trouble, under the circumstances.

That said, any citizen who wishes to seek office and is serious about it should be encouraged to do so—and to follow all applicable rules in the process. Johnson is not a seasoned political veteran, and it seems that those counseling her in making this choice, including officials at the Knox County Election Commission and state Democratic Party chair Chip Forrester, could have provided better advice regarding the procedure.

UPDATE: See clarification from Mr. Neal in the comments, and follow his link for a legal opinion that holds TCA § 3-1-102(f) as unconstitutional.