NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Two elected officials in Tennessee have launched Republican bids to replace longtime U.S. Rep. John J. “Jimmy” Duncan Jr., who announced earlier this week that he wouldn’t seek re-election.
On Tuesday, the Federal Election Commission received Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett’s candidacy paperwork to run in the 2nd Congressional District next year. State Rep. Jimmy Matlock announced his campaign for the seat in a news release Thursday.
Burchett, a former state lawmaker, has served as Knox County mayor since 2010 and can’t seek re-election due to term limits. He’s expected to announce his plans formally on Saturday in Knoxville.
As a state lawmaker, Burchett was known for filing dozens of bills each session, including a measure to increase the state speed limit to 70 mph, a proposal to require birthdates to be printed in enlarged red lettering on driver’s licenses and a bill to make it legal for motorists to take home the deer they kill on state highways. Constituents asked him to carry bills, and he enjoyed addressing people’s concerns, he has said.
Matlock, a small business owner from Lenoir City, has served in the state House for 11 years. In November, Matlock unsuccessfully challenged Speaker Beth Harwell, a Nashville Republican, for the top leadership role in the state House.
In his announcement Thursday, Matlock said the Knoxville-anchored district needs solid, serious conservative leadership shaped and tested by real world experience. He said he’s determined to see the repeal of “Obamacare.”
“Anyone can talk like a conservative,” Matlock said in a statement. “What we need is someone who’s going to act like one.”
Democrat Joshua Williams, a psychologist from Knoxville, is also running for Duncan’s seat. A Democrat has not held the seat since 1855.
Duncan, 70, was first elected to Congress as a Republican in a 1988 special election to replace his father, John Duncan Sr., who had cancer and died that June.
On Monday, he said he wouldn’t seek re-election in 2018 because he wants to spend more time with his family.