The petition by attorney Stuart James to run against Rep. JoAnne Favors for House District 29 was ruled invalid on Thursday morning - just before the qualifying deadline.
Charlotte Mullis-Morgan of the election office said someone in the James campaign had used a photocopy of a petition to gather names.
She said, "It was done improperly. Under state law, there cannot be any copies of documents."
Attorney James said he accepts the ruling. He said, "I messed up."
Linda Mosley got her petition in for School Board District 7. Also running are Michael Dzik and Kevin Burke.
Rhonda Thurman is unopposed.
Joe Dumas, a UTC professor, is running against Chip Baker.
Debra Matthews is opposed by Kenneth Simpson and Gregg Juster.
Congressman Zach Wamp has opposition from Democrat Doug Vandergriff and Independent Jean Howard-Hill.
Sheriff candidates are Democrat Greg Beck, Republican Jim Hammond and Independents Jim Winters and Tim Akins.
Legislators with no opposition are Rep. Richard Floyd, Gerald McCormick and Tommie Brown.
Former legislator Jim Vincent has qualified to try to unseat Rep. Jim Cobb of Rhea County in House District 31.
Basil Marceaux Jr. is running against Rep. Favors.
Basil Marceaux Sr. is opposing Sen. Andy Berke.
Attorney James said, "I just learned that the petition for office I filed with the election commission this morning could not be accepted by the Hamilton County Election Commission. Although we had enough signatures to qualify for office, and all signatures were original, one page of the petition was a copy signature page and could not be accepted to qualify for office.
"The responsibility is mine, to put it bluntly 'I messed up.' The rules governing the obtaining of signatures apparently require the signatures not only be original, but the signatures must be on the document that is the original document received from the Election Commission. A candidate is not permitted to copy a signature page, and put original signatures on the copied signature page. The signature page must be original. The signatures must be original.
"The responsibility, and blame, lie soley with me, not with the individuals who helped me get signatures. When I make a mistake I admit it, and the mistake and subesquent consequences are mine alone to bear. Fault does not lie with the election commission nor does it lie with any other individual in this quest for the State House of Representatives seat.
"Let me be clear - the Election Commission did its job.
"The first rule of politics is to plan ahead - I made a last minute decision to seek this seat. My message to anyone running for office, do not make this type of decision unless circumstances clearly dictate a last-minute run - under those circumstances be very careful.
"Timing is everything - my advice to candidates for office is to never make such a last minute decision. I felt, however, in making the decision that it was time for a new direction. I sincerely apologize to my supporters for my error. I know that as humans we make mistakes and I hope my supporters will forgive me.
"Life is full of hard knocks and we learn from our mistakes. I hope that I can be a better person and learn from this mistake.
"I am asking all of those who supported me to support JoAnne Favors for another term in the House. I hope that you cast your vote for her in the August primary and the November general election, I know that I will."
Mr. James also said, “I was asked to review the decision of the Election Commission regarding the rejection of the qualifying petition for state House. I reviewed the code section governing petitions, and although the code is very liberal on additional pages and appears not to require the same formalities as the issuance of the original petition, I have decided that the error is on my part and not on the part of the Election Commission. Therefore, I have decided not to pursue any appeal of the commission’s decision.
“The signatures on the photocopied petition are original and valid. However, the code appears to require that a candidate who wants extra pages go to the commission to obtain them. The Election Commission is allowed to photo copy additional pages, so long as the official 'shall indicate in the upper right hand corner of each page that the document was photocopied by the county Election Commission prior to distributing the form to a candidate.'
”I am, therefore, accepting responsibility for the error. Most of the signatures for the petition were on the copied page. Since the 'buck stops with me' I accept responsibility for the petition not being accepted by the state or local officials.”
Congress Third DistrictJean Howard-Hill (I) qualified
Doug Vandergriff (D) qualified
Zach Wamp (R) qualified
Tennessee Senate District 10Andy Berke (D) qualified
Basil Marceaux Sr. (R) qualified
House District 26Gerald McCormick (R) qualified
House District 27Richard Floyd (R) qualified
House District 28Tommie Brown (D) qualified
House District 29JoAnne Favors (D) qualified
Basil Marceaux Jr. (R) qualified
House District 30Vince Dean (R) qualified
House District 31 (parts of Hamilton and Rhea counties)Jim Cobb (R) qualified
Jim Vincent (R) qualified
County School Board District 1Rhonda Thurman qualified
County School Board District 2Chip Baker qualified
Joe Dumas qualified
County School Board District 4Gregg Juster qualified
Debra Matthews qualified
Kenneth Simpson qualified
County School Board District 7Kevin Burke qualified
Michael Dzik qualified
Linda Mosley qualified
SheriffTim Akins (I) qualified
Greg Beck (D) qualified
Jim Hammond (R) qualified
Jim Winters (I) qualified
The qualifying deadline was Thursday at noon.