By Dave Ongie, News Editor
The field of candidates vying to represent Tennessee’s First District in the United States House of Representatives began to take form this past week.
State Senator Rusty Crowe and former Johnson City Mayor Steve Darden announced their intentions to pursue the seat currently occupied by Congressman Phil Roe, who has announced his intention to retire at the end of his current term. Crowe and Darden join a field of Republicans that includes former Kingsport Mayor John Clark, who announced his candidacy in early January.
Crowe picked up his petition to officially join the race last Thursday in Jonesborough, and said he is running for Congress “because Tennessee’s on the right track and D.C. needs a good dose of Tennessee.”
“I’ve spent my life serving Tennesseans as a volunteer for the Vietnam War and then as a citizen legislator in the Tennessee Senate,” Crowe said.
“Today, Tennessee is thriving because we’ve applied commonsense conservative principles to achieve extraordinary results.”
Crowe has served in the State Senate since 1990 and touted the fiscal stability the state has achieved under Republican leadership. Crowe has served in a variety of leadership roles during
Darden, meanwhile, announced his candidacy for the open seat on Monday.
“I am a conservative Republican seeking the nomination to become our next Congressman,” Darden said in a statement. “I want to serve in Congress for a very simple reason: To make life better for the people of the 1st Congressional District, which I consider to be the best place to live, work, worship and raise a family in our great nation.”
Darden, a native of Johnson City, received his law degree from the University of Tennessee and has practiced law with Hunter, Smith & Davis for the past 34 years. He also served on the Johnson City Commission from 2001 through 2011, a stint that included terms as the mayor and vice-mayor.
The filing deadline for the congressional race is April 2. Crowe, Darden and Clark will be among the Republicans squaring off for the party’s nomination in the Aug. 6 primary.