Reps. Armstrong, Daniel face primary challengers

Two incumbent Knoxville legislators — Democratic Rep. Joe Armstrong and Republican Rep. Martin Daniel — may be facing primary challengers in August, reports Georgiana Vines.

Attorney David C. Lee, a cousin of state Supreme Court Justice Sharon Lee, has picked up a petition to run against Armstrong in the 15th District in the Democratic primary.

Former state Rep. Steve Hall has returned a qualifying petition to run in the Republican primary for the 18th District House seat now represented by Rep. Martin Daniel, who defeated Hall in 2014 in a close contest. Daniel got 3,921 votes to Hall’s 3,756.

Cameron Brooks, chairman of the Knox County Democratic Party, said anyone is welcome to pick up a petition to seek office but he feels strongly the inner city seat should be held by an black legislator.

“I don’t know anything about him (Lee). I’m a white man who lives in Joe’s district. I believe that seat should be held by an African-American. They are under-represented in Knox County government and the Legislature,” Brooks said.

Lee said Friday he is exploring a run but hasn’t yet decided what to do. He said his pet issue is legalization and taxation of marijuana, on a responsible step-by-step basis, and the repeal of the Hall income tax while looking for other revenue sources.

As for Brooks’ comment that the district should be represented by a black resident, he said he will reach out to Black Lives Matter, black ministers, downtown dwellers and University of Tennessee students in deciding what to do.

“If I run, I promise I will be in tune with the African-American community,” he said.

…Armstrong is scheduled to go on trial Aug. 2, with the state primaries on Aug. 4.