11 enter race for Lovell’s vacated House seat
[UPDATE: This is an earlier story on this topic; see our latest story, listing which 10 of these candidates made the first cut by getting their petitions in on time.]
MEMPHIS — As of Wednesday, 11 people had pulled petitions to run for the position in District 95 of the Tennessee House of Representatives. Rep. Mark Lovell recently vacated the position for the district, which includes part of Germantown and Collierville.
The contenders are Julie Byrd Ashworth (D)*, Curtis D. Loynachan (R), Melissa "Missy" R. Marshall (R), Billy Patton (R) and William Kevin Vaughan (R), all of Collierville; Jim Tomasik (I) and Joseph Leonard Tomasik (L), both of Cordova; John C. Bogan (R), Joseph Aaron Crone (R) and Robert Paul Schutt (I), all of Eads; and Frank Uhlhorn (R) of Germantown.
As of Wednesday, seven candidates had filed their petitions: Julie Byrd Ashworth, Joseph Aaron Crone, Melissa Marshall, Billy Patton, Robert Schutt, Frank Uhlhorn and William Kevin Vaughan. They also had sufficient signatures of 95th District voters on their petitions.
“People have until March 16 at noon to turn their petitions back in,” said Linda Phillips, administrator of elections for the Shelby County Election Commission. “So I wouldn’t be surprised if the list continues to grow.”
People who want to run for the seat may pick up a Candidate Nominating Petition at either office of the Shelby County Election Commission. When submitted, the petitions must be accompanied by the signatures of 25 voters who are registered to vote in the 95th district.
The qualifying deadline to submit the petitions is Thursday, March 16, at noon. The withdrawal deadline is Monday, March 20, at noon.
A listing of the names of people who have picked up petitions is updated daily on the SCEC website. To view it, go to shelbyvote.com, select the Candidate Information tab at the top of the page and click on “Petitions Issued and Filed House District 95.” The “Yes” in the “Filed” column represents people who have returned their petition. The “Yes” in the “Sufi Sign” column represents those petitions that have been filed and have sufficient signatures.
Tennessee law mandates that if a member of the legislature leaves office with 12 or more months left in the term, a special election must be held so voters can decide the replacement. Lovell resigned Feb. 14 amid allegations of inappropriate sexual contact, although the reason he cited for leaving the Legislature was not being able to spend enough time with business interests and his family.
The 95th district includes 14 precincts and a portion of four additional precincts, encompassing about 51,000 voters.
The primary will be on April 27, and the general election will follow on June 15.
Both elections require a 15-day early voting period. “There will probably be one early voting location in Germantown and one in Collierville, but ultimately that decision is up to the commissioners,” Phillips said.
The five-members of the SCEC Commission will decide the early voting and election day locations at the March 21 meeting, to be held at 4 p.m. at the Operations Center at 980 Nixon Drive. The commissioners will also set the early voting and election day locations for the general election. Phillips said the locations for the general election might not be decided until the regular meeting of the commission in April, and the locations are somewhat dependent on the outcome of the primary election.
Phillips estimates that there will be 15 or 16 polling locations open on Election Day in both the primary and general elections.
[Editor's Note 1: In the listing of candidates, "D" stands for Democrat; "R" stands for Republican, "I" stands for Independent, and "L" stands for Libertarian.]
[Editor's Note 2: The printed version of this story included data through Monday; this version includes data through Wednesday.]