On Rep. Curry Todd’s race against 3 GOP challengers

From a Commercial Appeal report on the campaign in state House District 95, where three fellow Republicans are trying to wrest the seat from Rep. Curry Todd, who has served for 17 years and has faced high-profile health and legal issues.

Todd says his problems are behind him, and that he’s campaigning hard to keep the seat.

“Making calls over the telephone, walking the streets,” said Todd, 68, R-Collierville. “I’m not a lazy guy and a lazy campaigner. I’m going to do what I need to do to win this election and do it fair and square.”

Todd had announced in 2012 that he had a slow-growing form of cancer.

A representative of challenger Diane George had pointed to the illness earlier this year, as well as to Todd’s 2013 guilty plea to driving under the influence and a related gun charge.

But Todd said last week that his health is fine. “I’ve got a clean bill of health from my doctors and I’m doing great. Mentally, physically and all. It’s not an issue, even though it’s been brought up by others.”

Todd also said the DUI is no longer relevant. “I paid my dues just like any other citizen did on that. And did my penance and it’s behind me.” Todd’s sanctions included 48 hours in jail, minus eight hours he’d served at the time of the arrest. “And I’ve been elected two times since then. And I’d like to challenge anyone to pick up a stone and throw it at someone if they did not commit the sin.”

With $192,000 in campaign money in hand as of April 9, Todd may have a big advantage over his challengers, although that’s unclear because the challengers don’t have to file campaign finance reports until July 11.

…Former Shelby County school board member Diane George said she’d like to see Tennessee become one of the top 10 states in the U.S. for education. She also calls for creation of facilities to treat the mentally ill and a social movement to cut demand for illegal drugs.

“You know, I support the second amendment very much, citizens’ right to bear arms, but gun violence is out of control in our nation,” said George, a 57-year-old Realtor. “We need to look at cities such as New York and learn from other people who have been successful to reduce the number of guns on the street.”

…Another challenger, businessman Mark Lovell, 57, is best known for festival promotion, particularly bringing the Delta Fair to Memphis.

Lovell was out of the country last week, an associate said, and efforts to reach him were unsuccessful. However, his website lists positions on a number of issues. On education, he calls for measures including additional charter schools and vouchers to help students in failing schools get a better opportunity.

On business development, he called for less regulation: “Businesses are unfairly targeted for licensing fees and taxes, thereby reducing the opportunities for job creation.” On health, he wrote, “I support efforts underway to incentivize Medicaid patients to be better healthcare shoppers … I also oppose our continued restriction of health insurance options in Tennessee.”

…Candidate Dana Matheny, a 53-year-old former health care administrator, said if elected she’ll make health care a focus of her campaign, working toward solutions that use the power of the free market. “In reality, if we put that money back in the direct control of the patient, they will actually drive down the cost of health care by choosing the services.”