Knoxville’s state Reps. Joe Armstrong and Bill Dunn drew no opponents to their re-election this year when the normal qualifying deadline passed for legislative candidates in April, but both could now wind up with challengers from the Green Party.
The Green Party of Tennessee last month nominated candidates for several offices in accord with a federal judge’s decision in February – including Calvin Cassady of Knoxville as an opponent to Democrat Armstrong in state House District 15 and Bryan Moneyhun as an opponent to Republican Dunn in House District 16.
U.S. District Court Judge William Joseph Haynes ruled that several aspects of state law dealing with third party candidates are unconstitutional, including provisions that have generally kept party names – other than Republican and Democrat – from being printed with candidate names on the ballot.
Part of ruling allowed the Green Party and the Constitution Party, which filed the legal challenge, to nominate candidates later than the regular qualifying deadline – April 5 this year – and have their names appear on the ballot with the party label.
The state, however, has appealed the judge’s ruling. A hearing on the appeal is scheduled for July 25 before the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which will decide whether the candidates will be on the ballot or not.
The Constitution party has submitted only one candidate, Kermit Steck of Greeneville as a nominee for the U.S. Senate seat now held by Sen. Bob Corker, a Republican with opponents in the Republican primary and several Democrats competing for their .party’s nomination.
The Green Party nominated Martin Pleasant of Knoxville for the U.S. Senate.
In the U.S. House races, the Green party nominatee include Robert N. Smith of Greeneville in the 1st Congressional District, now held by Republican Rep. Phil Roe and Norris Dryer of Knoxville in the 2nd District, now held by Republican Rep. John J. “Jimmy” Duncan Jr. Both also face other opponents qualifying through the normal process.
There are also Green Party nominees in the 5th, 6th and 7th Congressional Districts.
Besides the seats now held by Armstrong and Dunn, the Green Party has filed candidates in House District 3, an open seat vacated by Republican Rep. Scotty Campbell; the 11th House District seat held by Republican Rep. Jerome Faison of Cosby, who already has Democratic and Republican opponents; and House District 55, held by Democratic Rep. Gary Odom of Nashville, who, like Armstrong and Dunn, will have no opponent to reelection if the Green candidates are kept of the ballot.
The Green candidate in House District 3 is Suzanne Elaine Parker of Bluff City, according to documents provided by the Secretary of State’s office. In the 11th District, Donald “Free” Land of Mohawk is the Green candidate while Susan Shann of Nashville is the nominee in District 55.
The Green candidate in the 5th Congressional District, now held by Democratic Rep. Jim Cooper of Nashville is John Miglietta of Nashville. In the 6th District, held by Republican Rep. Diane Black of Gallatin, the party’s candidate is Patrick John Riley of Lancaster and in the 7th District, now held by Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn of Brentwood, the Green candidate is Howard Switzer of Linden.