Johnson City Vice Mayor Clayton Stout said Tuesday he will challenge Republican incumbent state Rep. Micah Van Huss in next year’s GOP primary in an effort to serve 6th House District constituents in Nashville.
Stout, who won a seat on the City Commission in 2011, said he respected Van Huss but did not feel he was channeling his legislative initiatives toward the goals of the people he represents.
“Right now I think you have a governor who has created some economic growth, and he’s marketing Tennessee globally,” he said. “I think he’s looking for district representatives that are behind this, and I want to partner with the governor to concentrate on jobs, the economy, infrastructure improvements and education.”
Stout announced in August he planned to look at the possibility of running. That no longer is a possibility, and he has started by enlisting Sandra Jaynes,wife of former Washington County Mayor George Jaynes, as his treasurer.
“My family and I talked and decided we were up for the challenge, and of course you have to start by raising money,” he said. “We can handle it and make it work. We’ve been talking with a lot of people here and throughout the state. I have friends in the Republican Party, and I’m familiar with how the General Assembly works. I’m trying to capitalize on our opportunities and concentrate on the people here in our district.”
Stout said his future opponent was off base when he introduced a failed bill to prohibit United Nations representatives from monitoring Tennessee elections and successful legislation that limits future law enforcement use of drones (unmanned planes). Van Huss operated surveillance drones while serving in the Marine Corps.
“I really don’t think that’s what District 6 constituents had in mind,” Stout said.
Asked if he cared to comment on Stout or whether he had anything to say regarding remarks about his legislation, Van Huss cut the conversation short saying he didn’t have anything to say about Stout. Instead he offered this: “Running for state representative has been one of the greatest experiences of my life, and I highly recommend it for anyone that’s interested.”
In September, former city commissioner and Vice Mayor Phil Carriger announced he was considering entering the GOP primary ring against incumbent state Rep. Matthew Hill for the 7th House District seat. Carriger said Tuesday he will wait until sometime around Thanksgiving to officially announce his intentions.
“I think I can beat him,” he said about Hill. “But if you can’t raise the money, there’s no use wasting everybody’s time.”
Meanwhile, he said Stout would have a good shot at beating Van Huss.
“I think Clayton’s well qualified,” he said. “He’s sharp. He’s a family man, and he owns his own business.” The last day to file to run in the 2014 elections is Feb. 20. The state primary is Aug. 7, and the state and federal general election is Nov. 7.
• Related: Johnson City Vice Mayor Clayton Stout considers run for Nashville