Democrats pick Rick Staples to replace Joe Armstrong

Knoxville community activist Rick Staples was chosen Thursday to replace Joe Armstrong as Democratic nominee for the House District 15 seat, reports the News Sentinel.

Veteran lawmaker Armstrong won the nomination on Aug. 4 but lost it a few days afterwards when convicted on a felony charge of filing a false tax return. That bars him from seeking office under state law.

Armstrong’s wife, LeTonia Armstrong, had sought her husband’s position, but was not nominated at the Thursday night meeting of the Knox County Democratic party. Only Staples and Knoxville Councilman and former Mayor Daniel Brown got nominated.

Staples said after the vote that his recent losses in the city council and county commission races will help in approaching the 15th District election.

“I’ve gained experience the whole way … and I’m thankful for that. They may not have been wins, but they were lessons I learned,” he said.

Staples, a former Knox County Sheriff’s Office employee, is project management and communications supervisor for Castles of Choice project, and vice president and chair of mentorship for 100 Black Men of Greater Knoxville. Earlier this year he lost a bid for the Democratic nomination for Knox County Commission’s 1st District seat.

Note: The last paragraph is from a separate, earlier News Sentinel story.