Tennessee 62nd District House candidate Casey Walters has continued to criticize opponent Pat Marsh for having voted in the Democratic primary 10 times over the years, saying that Marsh's explanation for having done so does not fit all of the occasions.
Walters and Marsh are among four candidates in the Aug. 27 Republican primary for the vacant house seat. Other GOP candidates are Joseph Byrd and Bobby Scott.
Walters, who by his own admission did not vote in any party primaries during that time, has said Marsh's votes in the Democratic primary call into question his credentials as a Republican.
Marsh originally responded that in many cases, Bedford County only has a Democratic primary for local offices, meaning that anyone who wants to have a say in those offices must vote in the Democratic primary. If there is no Republican primary, the winner of the Democratic primary must still run in the general election, either unopposed or against any independent candidates.
Walters, however, noted that in February 2008, the only two candidates on the Democratic primary were unopposed -- Highway Superintendent Stanley Smotherman and Assessor of Property Ronda Clanton. Even so, Marsh voted in the Democratic primary rather than the Republican primary, missing the chance to choose among Republican candidates for president.
"Personally," Marsh told the Times-Gazette, "honestly, I can't remember what I did in February 2008." He said he does remember speaking to another Republican about which of the Democratic presidential candidates John McCain would have the best chance of defeating.
The winner of the Republican primary for the 62nd District seat will move on to the Oct. 13 general election to face unopposed Democratic primary candidate Ty Cobb and independent Chris Brown, who says he is a member of the Constitution Party.
Early voting for the primaries continues through Saturday.
The seat was vacated by Ty Cobb's brother Curt Cobb, who resigned to accept a position in the Bedford County court system.
The Times-Gazette mis-reported Marsh's comments on federal stimulus money at a Tuesday night candidate forum. Although Marsh, like other candidates, was critical of the stimulus program, he said that if there were few conditions or restrictions placed on the use of the money, he would probably accept it.
The Times-Gazette apologizes for the error and is happy to set the record straight.