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Candidates set for Senate special election

Xavier Smith • Sep 28, 2017 at 1:46 PM

Two candidates filed petitions and qualified for this year’s special election to fill a vacant seat in the state Senate in District 17 after Mae Beavers resigned the seat last month to run for governor.

One candidate filed for each primary, according to Wilson County Administrator of Elections Phillip Warren.

Mark Pody will run unopposed in the Republican primary, and Mary Alice Carfi will follow suit in the Democratic primary.

Pody, current District 46 state representative, is an insurance salesman in Lebanon. Carfi is an attorney in Old Hickory and Mt. Juliet and was awarded best attorney in Mt. Juliet by a local media outlet in 2016.

Primaries will be Nov. 7, and the General Election will be Dec. 19. Both elections will be in Wilson, Cannon, DeKalb, Smith, Clay and Macon counties that make up the 17th Senate District.

There will be five early voting sites in Wilson County at 203 E. Main St. in Lebanon; 1075 Charlie Daniels Pkwy. in Mt. Juliet; Lighthouse Church at 6141Saundersville Road; Gladeville Community Center; and Watertown Community Center. The Election Commission Office and the Mt. Juliet Community Center sites will be open Oct. 18 through Nov. 2. The other three locations will be open from Oct. 23-28. The hours of early voting at all the sites will be Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m.

Beavers resigned her Senate to focus on her campaign for Tennessee governor.

Tennessee law requires the governor to call a special election to fill a vacant Senate seat if the vacancy happens 12 months or more before the next state General Election, according Warren. The Senate special election will cost about $100,000, which will be paid by the state.

The next regular state general election will be Nov. 6, 2018, which was 13 months away at the time of Beavers’ resignation.

The Wilson County Commission had the opportunity Sept. 18 to nominate an interim senator to fill the seat until the special General Election, but it chose not to do so.

According to Warren, even though there are unopposed candidates in each primary with no qualified write-in candidates, Tennessee law requires primary elections be held for political party to allow members of that party to select a nominee to appear on the General Election ballot. Registered voters who are affiliated with the Republican or Democrat Party, or who, at the time they vote intend to affiliate with that party, participate in primaries. Voters do not register by political party in Tennessee, but they must declare a party choice before voting in a primary.

For those Wilson County residents not registered to vote, the last day to register to vote in the primaries will be Oct. 10.

“With the introduction of online voter registration, registering or changing an address is easier than ever before,” Warren said. “The process only takes a few minutes. If you’ve never registered before or you have recently moved and you need to update your registration, the online system takes care of it quickly and easily.”

To register online, visit wilsonvotes.com and click on the online voter registration link. Paper forms are also available to download on the site, at the Election Commission office and most government offices.

To learn more about the special election, voting and how to get involved with Wilson County elections, contact the Wilson County Election Commission at 615-444-0216 or visit wilsonelections.com.

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