No, this is not the same as Tim McGraw making noises about running for governor, or Hank Williams Jr. threatening to challenge U.S. Sen. Bob Corker. We’re talking about Reps. Harry Brooks and Bill Dunn, whose names appear among several others listed by KnoxNews columnist Georgiana Vines as potential candidates to fill the vacancy left by outgoing Senate Speaker Pro Tem Jamie Woodson. Woodson is resigning to become CEO of the education nonprofit State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE), a think tank founded and chaired by former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist.
One candidate has already stepped forward. Marilyn Roddy, a two-term Knoxville City Council member, had been running for the city mayor post vacated by Gov. Bill Haslam, but explained her decision to switch directions in a statement emailed to the press.
Roddy’s decision to seek the Senate Seat and forgo her Mayoral bid was based on her belief that she could make greater impact on education reform in the State Senate, ”As a former educator, I am deeply committed to improving education. The State Senate offers the best platform to achieve the education reform necessary to attract 21st century jobs to Tennessee and Knox County,” said Roddy. “I believe that at this point in time I can best serve the citizens of Knox County in the legislature.
While additional political figures sort out whether they want to invest in running for this seat, a question on another front is when the election would actually take place. Woodson announced that she will resign on the last day of the General Assembly session or July 1st, whichever comes first. It is likely that the Legislature will adjourn before then, so the moving target presents a statutory challenge in terms of when the governor must issue a writ of election versus how many days are required before an election can be held.
Arguably, it would be ideal for this election to coincide with the Knoxville municipal elections, but it is likely that a couple of legal hurdles would have to be jumped in order to arrive at that common-sense solution. When asked for comment on how this uncertainty affects organizing a campaign, Roddy spokesperson Chris Connolly said that he is sure that Gov. Haslam and state officials will do what is best for the voters in the 6th Senate District.
(Note: Rep. Dunn has told Michael Silence that he is ruling out a run for the seat, but that’s not enough evidence to keep his name out of a cheesy title.)