- Associated Press - Thursday, July 28, 2016

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - The subject of a state attorney general’s sexual harassment investigation isn’t the only Republican candidate facing uncertain prospects in Tennessee’s Aug. 4 primary.

Rep. Jeremy Durham suspended his re-election campaign despite his claims that most of the allegations that the Franklin Republican had improper sexual interactions with 22 women were false or taken out of context.

Even though he is no longer hitting the trail in support of his bid for a third term, his name remains on the ballot in his Williamson County district where his name recognition is likely higher than ever. But Durham has so far rebuffed calls from legislative leaders on both sides of the aisle to resign, leading them to start gathering support for a special legislative session to expel him regardless of the outcome of the primary.

Other Republican races drawing interest this primary season include:

HOUSE DISTRICT 95: Longtime Rep. Curry Todd of Collierville has twice been filmed removing an opponent’s yard signs. The retired Memphis police officer who pleaded guilty after a 2011 arrest for drunken driving with a loaded handgun in his car has said he had permission from property owners to remove the signs. But one opponent, fair and carnival operator Mark Lovell, said the recordings make Todd look like a “little bandit.” Todd spent more than $102,000 on the race in July alone, while none of his trio of little-known opponents came into the month with more than about $5,600 on hand.



HOUSE DISTRICT 18: Incumbent Rep. Martin Daniel of Knoxville has been charged with misdemeanor assault in connection with an on-air dispute with the former Rep. Steve Hall, the man he defeated in the primary two years ago. Daniel, Hall and two other candidates were participating in a forum on WOKI-FM when they got into a heated exchange that resulted in Daniel shoving Hall, according to the former lawmaker’s report to police. Daniel’s attorney expressed surprise at the charges because his client had made an apology that he said was “both heartfelt and sincere.”

HOUSE DISTRICT 61: House Finance Chairman Charles Sargent of Franklin is facing a rematch with businessman Steve Gawrys, whom the incumbent defeated by just 256 votes in 2014. The Tennessee Firearms Association has been supporting Sargent’s ouster over claims that he worked behind the scenes against gun legislation. Sargent, who has disputed those allegations and been endorsed by the National Rifle Association, has been one of the heaviest spenders of the final weeks of the campaign with nearly $111,000 in expenditures in July alone.

SENATE DISTRICT 4: Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey of Blountville is retiring this year, giving up his seat in the heavily Republican northeastern corner of the state. State Rep. Jon Lundberg of Bristol, former Rep. Tony Shipley of Kingsport and former University of Tennessee football player and veteran Neal Kerney are vying to succeed Ramsey in the upper chamber. Lundberg’s campaign got off to a slow start when the Navy reservist was called to active duty at the Pentagon this spring. But he has led his opponents in fundraising since his return and has spent $107,000 this month. Shipley, who lost his House re-election bid in 2014, came into July with about $9,000 on hand. Kerney spent more than $23,000 in the final reporting period before the primary.

SENATE DISTRICT 2: Sen. Doug Overbey of Maryville is spending heavily in his campaign to remain in the Senate after being a vocal proponent of Republican Gov. Bill Haslam’s failed Insure Tennessee proposal to extend health care coverage to 280,000 low-income people. The state chapter of Americans for Prosperity, the group led by billionaire conservative brothers Charles and David Koch, has singled out Overbey for supporting what it calls “Obamacare expansion.” Overbey spent about $75,000 in the final reporting period before the primary, while opponent Scott Williams came into July with $4,200 on hand.

SENATE DISTRICT 26: Senate Education Chairwoman Dolores Gresham of Somerville faces a primary challenge from Savannah Mayor Bob Shutt, who has argued that Haslam’s Insure Tennessee plan would have helped keep rural hospitals from closing in west Tennessee. Gresham opposed Insure Tennessee and has blamed the closures on President Obama’s Affordable Care Act.

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