Corker visits city in support of Marsh

Sunday, September 20, 2009
State Sen. Jim Tracy, left, and U.S. Sen Bob Corker endorsed fellow Republican Pat Marsh during a campaign rally Friday at the Hall of Fame Club in Calsonic arena. Marsh is running for the vacant 62nd District State House seat. (T-G Photo by John I. Carney)

U.S. Sen. Bob Corker visited Shelbyville Friday to appear at a rally for for Pat Marsh, the Republican nominee in the 62nd District state House of Representatives race.

Corker, a former real estate developer, said Marsh's background as a trucking company entrepreneur was needed in state government.

"We need people in government today that truly understand business, that know how to solve problems," said Corker, who has also served as state finance commissioner and mayor of Chattanooga.

"Pat's the kind of guy who understands about free enterprise," said Corker, noting how Marsh built Goggin Truck Line and then, after selling it, worked with his brother to build Big G Express.

Corker noted that some of the health care proposals now before Congress could have a major impact on state budgets by forcing some health care responsibilities onto the states.

State Sen. Jim Tracy, who introduced Corker, said that state budgets will be tight once the current wave of economic stimulus funds runs out. Both said that increases the need for persons with budgeting and financial experience in state government.

Early voting begins Wednesday for the Oct. 13 special election which will pit Marsh against Democratic nominee Ty Cobb II and Chris Brown of the Constitution Party, who will be listed on the ballot as an independent.

The election will fill the vacancy created when Ty Cobb II's brother Curt Cobb resigned from the seat in June to accept a position as Bedford County Clerk and Master, the clerk for Chancery Court.

The state house is divided 50-49 between Republicans and Democrats, and with no other elections taking place next month both parties have taken an active hand in the special election.

Terms of a potential debate between the candidates are being hammered out, not by the candidates or even their campaign managers, but by the state legislators who chair their respective party caucuses in the House. Both campaigns have now said that Brown would be included in any such debate.

Gov. Phil Bredesen, a Democrat, appeared in Shelbyville on Thursday to stump for Cobb.

"It's still going to be a very tough race," said Marsh. "We've got to get out and vote." Flyers were handed out at the rally promoting a door-to-door campaign on Saturday to encourage early votes. With no other races on the Oct. 13 ballot, voter turnout could be low, just as it was for the party primary elections last month.

Marsh stressed his campaign theme of job growth, as well as the need for good roads and good schools, and said he supports free enterprise.

"I'd like to get government out of our hair," he said.

Corker praised Marsh for having "the willingness to serve and the willingness to take the criticism that goes with it."

About 100 attended the rally, which was held in the Hall of Fame Club inside Calsonic Arena.

The district includes all of Bedford, part of Lincoln and a small corner of Rutherford counties.

Right to Life Endorsement

Meanwhile, Tennessee Right to Life made official on Friday what had been rumored on Thursday -- it is endorsing Cobb in the race.

"Challenges remain for Tennessee's pro-life movement and after considering the positions and commitments of both major candidates, Tennessee Right to Life has concluded that Ty Cobb has the stronger pro-life vision and voice," said Brian Harris, president of the organization, in a news release.

The group's political action committee met with Cobb and Marsh and also considered the results of candidate surveys and public forum statements.

Cobb's support for Senate Joint Resolution 127 and his commitment to vote only for a pro-life Speaker of the House were cited by Tennessee Right to Life as key to the endorsement.

SJR 127 was approved by both houses this summer but must be approved again by the next General Assembly in order to be placed on the ballot in 2014 for Tennessee voters. It would change the state constitution to specify that nothing in it guarantees the right to an abortion. It is intended to give the state wider latitude to regulate abortions to whatever extent is allowed by federal law.

Curt Cobb had been a supporter of SJR 127 and was called "a pro-life leader" by Tennessee Right to Life.