MOUNTAIN CITY -- A special election needed to replace former state Rep. Scotty Campbell may cost taxpayers $50,000.

The Johnson County Commission discussed the need for a special election during its regularly scheduled meeting Thursday night, only hours after Campbell’s sudden resignation for ethics violations.

Campbell, 39, was the state representative from House District 3, which is made up of Johnson County and parts of Carter, Sullivan and Hawkins counties.

Director of Accounts Russell Robinson said the cost of hosting an election in Johnson County varies between $40,000 and $50,000. He estimates the county may need to budget about $100,000 for elections this year.

The state reimburses all costs incurred by county election commissions for special elections for the General Assembly

According to the Tennessee Constitution, if a vacancy occurs with 12 or more months remaining before the next general election, a special election must be held to fill the remainder of the vacated member’s term. The next general election isn’t until November 2024.

To serve until a successor is elected, an interim successor may be appointed by the county commission of the replaced legislator’s county of residence, which in Campbell’s case is Johnson County.

Johnson County Mayor Larry Potter said in a statement that his office will work with the county commission on appointing someone to fill the seat.

“The public will be notified of the process and of any pending meetings regarding this matter,” Potter said.

Randy Dandurand, a resident, addressed commissioners Thursday night.

“I urge you, don't do anything quick," he said. "Please vet everybody before you make a decision. We want to keep Johnson County crystal clean and avoid any possible controversy."

Johnson County will now be responsible for two elections this year: a special primary election and a general election.

In special primary and general elections, an early voting period before the election is not needed if only one candidate running, according to state law. If early voting does take place, it will begin on the 20th day and end on the fifth day before Election Day.

Campbell apologizes

Campbell issued an apology late Thursday following his resignation.

"I apologize to my family, my friends, and those who misunderstood my intentions," Campbell said in a statement issued to The Tomahawk newspaper in Mountain City. The Tomahawk is a sister publication of the Times News.

To those he represented, Campbell wrote: "I am honored to have been able to represent the people of Northeast Tennessee and am proud of the good things we were able to do for Tennesseans."

Campbell submitted his resignation to House Speaker Cameron Sexton, according to House Republican Caucus Deputy Press Secretary Josh Cross.

A Republican based in Mountain City, Campbell was found to have violated the House's policy against sexual harassment by the Ethics Subcommittee on March 29 after a complaint was filed against him.

Campbell had served as vice chair of the House Republican Caucus. He violated the Legislature’s workplace discrimination and harassment policy. The Ethics Subcommittee findings document from late March did not provide specifics and said no more information would be released.

Voters elected Campbell, a former radio talk show host, to office in 2020. He ran unopposed for re-election in 2022. 


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