Early voting in the Oct. 13 special election to fill the vacant 62nd District State House of Representatives seat got off to a strong start, according to deputy administrator of elections Andrew Robertson.
As of 3 p.m. Tuesday, 1,123 voters had already voted by early vote or by paper absentee ballot. That figure already tops the 891 who voted early for the Aug. 27 party primaries -- and there's more than a week to go. Early voting continues through Oct. 8 in the basement of the county courthouse. Hours are 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday; 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday; and 9 a.m. until noon on Saturday.
Democratic nominee Ty Cobb II, Republican nominee Pat Marsh and Chris Brown, endorsed by the Constitution Party but listed on the ballot as an independent, are seeking the seat, which was made vacant when Ty Cobb's brother Curt Cobb resigned in late June.
Meanwhile, proxies for Marsh and Cobb continue to make accusations.
A direct mailing from the Tennessee Democratic Party last week accused Marsh of failing to pay taxes, saying he has had five tax liens filed against his company in three different states. Marsh responded in a newspaper ad, published today.
"First of all," states Marsh, "we are a commercial trucking company that operates in 48 states. Each state has its own tax structure -- not to mention their own city, county and local taxes. With the multitude of taxes that exist, the complexity of the tax laws, and numerous regulations, it is not uncommon that some tax bills may be overlooked. Anytime that has occurred we resolve the issue to the best of our ability. We have always been committed to paying our tax bills and always will."
Then, this week, Republican state Senators Jim Tracy of Shelbyville and Bill Ketron of Murfreesboro issued a press release denouncing the Service Employees International Union's endorsement of Cobb, saying that SEIU has close ties with the controversial Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) and has been one of ACORN's biggest financial backers.
Long a target of conservative critics, ACORN employees were caught on videotape recently giving advice to a woman posing as a prostitute and to a man posing as her pimp about cheating on taxes and operating a brothel with underage immigrant girls. This has caused several government agencies and financial institutions to sever their ties with ACORN.
"Once again ... they resort to name-calling and ridiculous assertions, when they realize they have no real solutions," said Tennessee Democratic Party spokesman Keith Talley, who dismissed the attempt to connect Cobb to ACORN. "I know Ty wants to be a legislator to work tirelessly to create good-paying jobs in the community."