Bradley County Mayor D. Gary Davis presented a resolution to the County Commission Monday afternoon which, if approved, would appoint Howell to the seat on an interim basis.
Davis said current state Rep. Eric Watson, who will become Bradley County sheriff on Sept. 1, will resign his state seat as of Aug. 31. This would leave the district without representation until the new Tennessee General Assembly is seated in January.
The Tennessee Constitution specifies that when less than 12 months remain prior to the next general election for legislators “a successor shall be elected by the legislative body of the replaced legislator’s county of residence at the time of his or her election.”
The next election will be held in November.
Since Watson was a resident of Bradley County when he was elected to the Legislature, the responsibility for filling the vacancy falls to the Bradley County Commission.
Because there is no Democratic candidate for the district seat on the November ballot, Howell is already the presumptive representative-elect, and his early accession to the post could help by giving him seniority over other newly elected legislators.
The Commission will formally take up the matter at its voting session next Monday at noon in the Commission meeting room.