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Shipley eyes run for Ramsey's state senate seat

J. H. Osborne • Mar 28, 2016 at 9:00 PM

BLOUNTVILLE — The field of would-be candidates continues to grow in the race to replace Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, who earlier this month announced he will not seek another term.

Would-be successors began lining up the next day for the 4th District seat Ramsey will vacate in the Tennessee Senate.

By Monday, they numbered at least seven, based on a late afternoon check of public records at the Sullivan County Election Office. Among the latest hats in the ring: Kingsport-based lawyer Alice Alexander, who mounted a failed run for county attorney two years ago; and Tony Shipley, former state representive who lost a reelection bid two years ago.

Alexander and Shipley joined Brad Baker and Steve Godsey (former county mayor and state representative) as would-be candidates who have picked up, but not yet filed, the qualifying paperwork.

State Rep. Jon Lundberg filed his qualifying petition on March 18, followed by Neal Kerney on March 21 and John Paul Blevins on Monday.

Ramsey is the first Tennessee Republican lieutenant governor and state Senate speaker in 140 years.

The deadline for a GOP primary candidate to file a petition to run for the Senate seat, which represents Sullivan, Johnson and part of Carter County, is April 7. The primary is in August. The general election is in November.

Meanwhile, five hopefuls have picked up the paperwork to run for the District 1 House seat Lundberg has held for 10 years.

They include: Sullivan County Commissioner John Crawford (filed Monday); Bristol Tennessee City Council member Michelle Denise; Bristol Tennessee Vice Mayor Chad Keen; Bart Long (former county commissioner and register of deeds, filed Monday); and Sullivan County Commissioner Mark Vance.

Lundberg was elected to the House in the 2006 general election, after first besting Crawford in the Republican primary earlier that year by only 22 votes —1,793 to 1,771, according to public records available online through the Sullivan County Elections Commission's website.

Candidates for Tennessee Senate must be at least 30 years of age, a citizen of the United States, a citizen of Tennessee for three years, a resident in the county one year immediately preceding the election, and a qualified voter of the legislative district.

Candidates may obtain a nominating petition from a county election commission office or the office of the coordinator of elections. The nominating petition must be signed by at least 25 voters who are registered in the candidate’s Senate district and the candidate.

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