Legislative campaign qualifying notes: Campfield, Ford, Harper, Odom get new challengers; Dean’s successor unopposed, etc.

Some reports from around the state on the day after qualifying deadline in state legislative races:

In Knoxville, Sen. Stacey Campfield now has a second opponent in the Republican primary. Mike Alford, a self-employed bus driver for entertainers, joins Knox County Commissioner Richard Briggs in challenging the incumbent, reports Georgiana Vines.

Alford’s… petition was picked up by Bryan Dodson, whom Alford described as a “mutual friend” of his and Campfield’s.
Dodson was a political adviser to Campfield until dismissed from his state job as the senator’s executive assistant in October for spending most of August in Knoxville instead of the Nashville office as rules for legislative staff require.

Alford said he had gone back and forth trying to decide whether to be a candidate when he decided and was en route to Nashville to work. He said he tried to get several people to obtain a qualifying petition for him and as a “last resort” contacted Dodson.

Among the reasons Alford said he is running is Campfield’s attempt to remove public notices from newspapers and the senator’s “hate for the News Sentinel.” Alford’s wife, Laurie, is a controller for the Tennessee Press Association, an organization providing services to newspapers across the state.

…The only other member of the Knox County legislative delegation who drew a primary opponent was state Rep. Steve Hall, a former Knoxville City Councilman who represents the 18th District. His Republican opponent will be lawyer Martin Daniel.

…Daniel’s official announcement said he is majority owner, general manager and general counsel to Elevation Outdoor advertising, a Knoxville firm he founded in 2003. He said the company operates 174 outdoor advertising displays throughout East Tennessee.

He said Thursday his interest in serving in the Legislature began when he was in Nashville in 2009-10 on some administrative rules that the Tennessee Department of Transportation was seeking for outdoor advertising.

“The legislators were very kind in meeting with me but, frankly, I got a lot of blank stares. I thought I could do what they do. I’m interested in community service, feel well qualified and am eager to serve,” Daniel said.

State Rep. Gloria Johnson, a Democrat serving her first term representing the 13th District, has no primary opponent but will have a Republican opponent in the general election…. Jason Emert and Eddie Smith, both small businessmen, face each other in the GOP primary.

In Chattanooga, the TFP reports the only legislative primary contest is for the seat being vacated by Rep. Richard Floyd.

Four Republicans will battle for the job, including Tommy Crangle, a retired TVA engineer and former county election commissioner; Tom McCullough, a retired county school principal; Patsy Hazlewood, the current state Department of Economic and Community Development’s regional “jobs base camp” director and 30-year veteran of South Central Bell and AT&T; and Charlie White, owner of ABC Bond Co. and Volunteer Bail Bonds.

The winner of the bout will face the lone Democrat, Eric McRoy, a technician at Anthelio Healthcare Solutions, in the November election.

…East Ridge City Councilman Marc Gravitt on Thursday became the lone candidate filing in House District 30 to succeed (retiring Rep. Vince) Dean. As a result, the businessman, who owns Gravitt Auctions & Appraisals, is guaranteed to serve in the 109th General Assembly that’s elected in November. The district includes East Ridge, parts of Brainerd, East Brainerd and Collegedale.

In Nashville, former Tennessee Democratic Party spokesman Brandon Puttbrese qualified to challenge a party elder, state Sen. Thelma Harper, in the Senate District 19 primary, according to The Tennessean.

Puttbrese, 32, said he respects the work Harper has done since 1988. But the East Nashville resident sees “a need for some fresh blood, some fresh ideas, especially for Democrats to fight for the ideas we hold strong to, like expanding the middle class.”

…As expected, three Democrats qualified to try to succeed retiring state Rep. Mike Turner in Nashville’s House District 51: Carson W. “Bill” Beck, Stephen Fotopulos and Jennifer Buck Wallace.

Meanwhile, Nashville attorney John Ray Clemmons will take on longtime state Rep. Gary Odom in the District 55 Democratic primary.

In Memphis, incumbent Sen. Ophelia Ford has drawn a crowd of challengers, according to the Commercial Appeal.

Lee Harris, a Memphis City Council member from District 7, joined… Ricky Dixon and Herman Sawyer (in challenging) Ford in the primary. Two Republicans — James “Jim” Finney and Anthony D. Herron Sr. — have also filed petitions to run.

If his challenge is successful, it would be another step on a quick ascent for the law professor at the University of Memphis. He was elected to the City Council in 2011, defeating Kemba Ford. He had been publicly toying with the idea of challenging Ophelia Ford for the past few weeks.

“The thing I heard most often is that folks are ready for change,” he said.

In Kingsport, the Times-News reports two Republicans filed papers to run against Rep. Tony Shipley, R-Kingsport. They are Nicholas Castle and Bud Hulsey, who retired last year from the Kingsport Police Department, as a lieutenant, after 25 years of service with the force.

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