State Rep. Curt Cobb has been named Bedford County Clerk and Master by 17th Judicial District Chancellor J.B. Cox and has resigned from his House seat.
Cobb began his new position today; he said this morning that he submitted his letter of resignation from the General Assembly on Tuesday.
Gov. Phil Bredesen will have to call for a special election to fill the seat.
Cobb, a Democrat, had been elected four times to the House seat, most recently last year, when he fended off a challenge by Republican Barbara Blanton.
"I had to make some decisions," Cobb said, "but I think I made the best one for my family. I still get to serve the people of Bedford County."
Chancery Court hears primarily civil cases; its judge is known by the title "chancellor," and its court clerk by the title "clerk and master." Cobb is the son of the late Tyrus Cobb, who held the position of chancellor for 20 years, from 1979 until 1999. Tyrus Cobb also held the state House seat for this area in the mid-1960s. Tyrus Cobb died in 2003.
Cox praised Curt Cobb's abilities and his knowledge of the office and state law.
"I feel like he'll be a great addition to the Chancery Court," Cox said this morning. "I have confidence in him; I think he will do great work."
Cox noted the family tradition of Cobb serving as clerk for the court over which his father once presided.
"I used to come in this office as a kid," Cobb recalled.
The judicial district includes Bedford, Marshall, Moore and Lincoln counties. Each has its own clerks.
Cobb said that a general election will be held to fill the seat. In cases where there is less than 12 months remaining in a term, the county commission from the previous member's home county makes an appointment, but if more than 12 months remains, a special election is held.
The election is likely to draw significant attention because of the close division in the House. Republicans in November gained a 50-49 advantage in the lower chamber.
State Election Coordinator Mark Goins told The Associated Press that the primary must be held within 55 to 60 days of the governor signing a writ of election. The general election would be held between 100 and 107 days of the writ, he said.
"I've been really fortunate and grateful for the people having the confidence in me to elect me to serve four terms in the General Assembly," said Cobb. "The people in Bedford County have been so kind to my family for decades."
Cobb is a real estate agent; he operated Cobb Realty and Auction before merging it into Rowland & Cobb Realtors.
The 62nd House District includes all of Bedford, part of Lincoln and a small part of Rutherford counties. Cobb had served as chair of the House Small Business Subcommittee and as a member of the House Commerce Committee, the House Health and Human Resources Committee and the Joint Business Tax Committee.
-- The Associated Press contributed to this story.