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County Republicans Pick Judicial Candidates

A mix of incumbents and a newcomer have been recommended by the Giles County Republican Party to run for positions in the 22nd Judicial District.

The district includes positions in Giles, Lawrence, Maury and Wayne counties.

Newcomer Caleb Bayless, an assistant district attorney, is running for a circuit judgeship formerly held by Stella Hargrove, who is not seeking re-election to an eight year term.

Incumbent Circuit Court Judge Christopher V. Sockwell is seeking another term. He was appointed by Gov. Bill Haslam in November 2018, to succeed Judge Robert L. Jones, who retired.

Another incumbent, Judge J. Russell Parkes, is running for re-election. He was appointed to the court by Haslam in November 2014, to fill the vacancy created when Judge Robert L. Holloway was appointed to the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals.

Parkes won a six year partial term unopposed in August 2016.

David Lee Allen was appointed in June 2015, by Haslam to replace Judge Jim Hamilton, who retired. Allen was elected to a six year partial term unopposed in August 2016.

Haslam had appointed Travis Jones as public defender after the death of long time public defender Claudia Jack in 2013.

Incumbent District Attorney General Brent Cooper also is seeking re-election. He was elected almost eight years ago after District Attorney General Mike Bottoms did not run for re-election.

Giles County Republicans decided not to ask the county election commission to hold a Republican Primary in 2022, opting instead for a county party caucus or nominating convention.

Republican parties in nearby counties such as Lawrence, Maury and Wayne also may hold caucuses to choose their candidates, Chris Morris, chairman of the Giles County Republican Party, said.

“We have got to dot our Is and cross our ts,” he said, noting that counties using caucuses would face extra scrutiny to make sure everything is done properly.

Republicans are seeking more candidates for municipal candidates and county offices in Giles. Several potential candidates spoke at February’s monthly county party meeting, and names of others were mentioned.

More Republicans also are needed to work at polls throughout the county, he said.

Morris singled out the offices of county attorney and sheriff as two he would like to see held by candidates running as Republicans,

Sheriff Kyle Helton, whose term ends this year, has run as an independent, while county attorney Lucy Henson is not on the ballot. The position recently was filled by a vote of county commissioners. Before them the county executive made an appointment.

Due to a change in state law, school board members can declare a political party when running for office in 2022.

School board positions in districts one, three, five and seven will be on the ballot in 2022 along with District Four where incumbent Katie Journey has given up her position in mid-term.

To run as a Republican, candidates need the approval of the Giles County Republican Party, must have voted Republican in three of the past four state primaries, present a resume to the Giles County Republican Party and answer questions from the party.

Feb. 28 is the latest qualifying deadline for the primary.

County commission and most county office holders also are on the ballot in 2022.

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