CORRECTION: The last name of candidate Joseph Byrd was misspelled when this story was originally posted and published. We apologize for the error.
Casey Walters of Fayetteville and Joseph Byrd of Unionville have filed papers to run in the Republican primary for the 62nd District Tennessee House of Representatives seat.
Chris Brown of Shelbyville, after picking up qualifying papers for both party primaries and for the general election as an independent, has decided on the latter option, and will run as an independent.
Ty Cobb of Shelbyville, an employee of UPS and the brother of previous office-holder Curt Cobb, remains the only candidate to have turned in paperwork for the Democratic primary, and the only candidate (other than Brown) to have picked up any paperwork for that primary.
The vacancy resulted from Curt Cobb's sudden decision to resign from his seat in order to accept the position of Bedford County Clerk and Master, the court clerk for Chancery Court.
The Republican primary field, as of early Monday afternoon, now includes Byrd, Walters, trucking company owner Pat Marsh of Shelbyville and minister Bobby Scott of Shelbyville. Barbara Blanton of Shelbyville, who was the Republican nominee for the seat in 2008, had filed paperwork to run again this time but withdrew from the race over the weekend, citing family reasons.
Noon Thursday is the deadline for candidates to turn in qualifying petitions. Party primaries for the seat will be held on Aug. 27, with the general election to be Oct. 13.
The 62nd District includes all of Bedford and parts of Lincoln and Rutherford counties. Observers from both parties at the state level are thought to be watching the election closely; a Republican win could solidify the GOP caucus' razor-thin 50-49 advantage in the House and possibly enable the party to appoint its own speaker.
Brown ran as a Republican for the House seat in 2008 and for Bedford County Sheriff in 2006.
Walters operates Casey Walters Auto Sales in Fayetteville and teaches defensive driving classes. Byrd works for the City of Franklin street department.
Because more than a year remains in Cobb's term, a special election was required. If the resignation had taken place with less than a year remaining, the county commission from the outgoing representative's home county -- in this case, Bedford County -- would have appointed a replacement.