Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Did Curt Cobb Blaze the Path to 51?

Rep. Curt Cobb (D-Shelbyville) has resigned his seat in the Tennessee House of Representatives to take the position of Bedford County Clerk and Master:

State Rep. Curt Cobb has been named Bedford County Clerk and Master by 17th Judicial District Chancellor J.B. Cox and has resigned from his House seat.

Cobb said that a general election will be held to fill the seat. In cases where there is less than 12 months remaining in a term, the county commission from the previous member's home county makes an appointment, but if more than 12 months remains, a special election is held.

The election is likely to draw significant attention because of the close division in the House. Republicans in November gained a 50-49 advantage in the lower chamber.

Cobb had to know an appointment like this was in the offing, and considering his family history (his father was once the Chancellor for the district) it is likely that he knew about this for some time before the appointment was made. Cobb had to give his assent for the whole arrangement, and he also had to know what the political consequences could be.

Out of 23,340 votes cast for Cobb's seat in last November's election, Cobb was re-elected with a majority of 2,356. It was a surprisingly close victory over Republican Barbara Blanton, who is already rumored to be considering a run in the special election. The Democrats are hoping the candidacy of Cobb's brother Ty will keep the seat in the family and keep the Democratic Caucus from having its cornflakes urinated upon.

Because of family name alone, Ty Cobb has to be considered the favorite to win. One advantage the Republicans may have is that this will be a special election in an off-year-called in some parts of the world a "bi-election." That means that turnout will almost certainly be lower, so the Cobb majority will be more easily cut into when the election occurs. This is a real opportunity for a Republican gain which could make the majority more bona fide.

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