Blountville Republican Timothy Hill was planning another run at Tennessee’s 3rd House District seat even before GOP incumbent state Rep. Scotty Campbell announced he would not seek re-election.
Hill lost to Campbell, R-Mountain City, in the 2010 GOP primary and is now among three other Republicans running for the party’s nomination in the August primary.
According to disclosures filed with the Tennessee Registry of Election Finance, Hill was accepting campaign contributions and spending funds about a month before Campbell’s announcement in late March.
“I was taking the necessary steps to run for the office. ... I was planning ahead, that’s for sure,” Hill acknowledged. “I was planning to run for the office of state representative. I’m a firm believer in running for the office, not against any one. I’m excited about presenting plans and big ideas. We were ready to go for it.”
The first of Hill’s quarterly campaign contributions, $250, came from his ex-boss, former U.S. Rep. David Davis of Johnson City, in February. Hill had served as Davis’ press secretary.
After Campbell’s March announcement, Hill received a $1,400 contribution from his brother, GOP state Rep. Matthew Hill of Jonesborough, plus a $1,000 gift from a political action committee controlled by Matthew Hill.
Matthew Hill, who has quietly become a fund-raising machine, reported having more than $70,000 cash on hand in his campaign account.
Timothy Hill, meanwhile, has also loaned his campaign $15,500, according to disclosures filed with the state.
With nearly $21,000 cash on hand, Timothy Hill has the fund-raising jump on his primary opponents — Karen Greene Morrell and Thomas White, both of Bluff City, and former Mountain City Mayor Kevin Parsons. The winner will face Bristol Democrat Leah R. Kirk in the November general election.
Campbell had replaced longtime Bristol Republican state Rep. Jason Mumpower, who is now working at the state comptroller’s office.
Prior to this year’s redistricting process, the 3rd House District included all of Johnson County and part of Sullivan County. The district has since added 11,000 people including the Hampton and Roan Mountain communities of Carter County.
“The district is a lot bigger this time,” Timothy Hill said. “We’ve got more ground to cover. As far as doing anything different, we just have to spread the conservative message and get to as many people as we can. We’ve got a lot more time. Last time happened very, very quickly with the retirement of Jason ... The district is a lot different. Those things work in our favor.”
Campbell, who reported having more than $20,500 in his campaign account at the end of the first quarter, said in an e-mail he has not made a decision how those funds will be used.
Under current state law, Campbell could use the funds for office expenses or give the money to a party’s state executive committee or another campaign fund. The disbursement of campaign funds for a candidate’s own personal use is not permitted.
For more about the Tennessee Registry of Election Finance go to www.tn.gov/tref/.