The qualification period for the school council race in Hamilton County District 2 has been extended thanks to the Anti-Skullduggery Act of 1991.
This story was updated with more information on Tuesday April 14, 2020 at 3:34 p.m.
Under a 1991 Tennessee Act, more than one name could be on the ballot for the Hamilton County’s 2nd district school council race in August.
Tom Decosimo is already planning to be there.
Decosimo announced that it would run for the seat last week after reigning Kathy Lennon pulled out of the race at the last minute.
The longtime businessman and national said he felt a calling to serve on the school board. He believes such a business background is required in the school board and hopes that his relationships with other members of the school board and the Hamilton County Commission will help bring the two governing bodies together.
He was also ready to put his name on the ballot once the Hamilton County Electoral Commission announced the extension on Tuesday.
A state law called the Anti-Skullduggery Act of 1991 requires the electoral commission to extend the qualification period because the incumbent withdrew her name on the seventh day after the qualification period.
“TCA 2-5-101 (h) allows additional applicants to qualify for office no later than 12:00 noon (prevailing time) on the seventh day after the original cooling-off period if an incumbent is a candidate for an elementary school or for such office an elementary school is an impartial general election and if such incumbent dies or duly resigns on the last day of the qualification period or before noon on the seventh day after the qualification period, “Hamilton County Election Administrator Kerry Steelman told Email.
Before the extension, which allows new candidates to collect papers and qualify by 12:00 noon Thursday, April 16, only Marco Perez, a newcomer to Hamilton County politics, was involved in the election.
Perez said the commission informed him of the determination Monday evening.
“I never thought I’d run unhindered,” Perez told the Times Free Press. “I think democracy is served when we can put our ideas into public spaces. Right now, I’m praying with the people of Chattanooga and what we’re going through. I hope we can find the best solutions for the students in Hamilton County.”
The Good Government PAC, a conservative political action committee affiliated with the Good Government Coalition, announced last week that it had approved Decosimo along with candidates in two of the school council races. Decosimo was previously the treasurer of the organization and the PAC, which he co-founded, but he told the Times Free Press that he and the organization are in the process of separating him from the PAC.
Decosimo noted that he wants to conduct a vigorous campaign – he has no intention of taking anything for granted and intends to end up serving District 2.
Former Red Bank Mayor John Roberts also announced his candidacy in February but did not qualify for the candidacy. It’s not clear if Roberts will try to qualify again.
In the August general election, there will be four seats on the school board, including District 1, District 2, District 4, and District 7.
Contact Meghan Mangrum at [email protected] or 423-757-6592. Follow her on Twitter @memangrum.