(WBIR-Hawkins County) Fighting words, smear campaigns and dirty politics all come with election season. However, at least in one East Tennessee race the candidates agreed to play nice.

Cecil Mills and Dan Armstrong face each other for 3rd District Attorney General next week. Mills, currently an assistant D.A. in Greene County, is running on the Democratic ticket while Armstrong, an assistant D.A. in Hamblen County, is on the GOP platform.

Both men have reasons to run, taking over for retiring District Attorney General Berkeley Bell.

"I felt running for district attorney general would give me an opportunity to serve in an even greater manner," Mills said.

"Issues that the office faces, I think it's important to have somebody with experience in office," Armstrong said.

The candidates said they are running for this office with two priorities in mind, serving the district of about 200,000 people, and do so with zero negative campaigning.

"He's never said anything negative about me," Armstrong said. "I have nothing negative to say."

"Not so much running, beating each other up," Mills said. "(I'm) merely spelling out the positives."

Both men are longtime friends, meeting when Armstrong joined the office in 1986. They each said if they win, they hope their competitor would stay on the job.

"The other will continue to serve the District Attorney General's Office; the other will welcome that with open arms," said Mills.

"I need him, I need his help, he's a great prosecutor," Armstrong said.

The district attorney general role carries an eight-year term.

The 3rd district is made up of Hancock, Hawkins, Hamblen, and Greene counties.