KNOXVILLE - Candidates running for the East Knoxville district formerly represented by ex-longtime state House member Joe Armstrong are the focus of this Sunday’s edition of Inside Tennessee on WBIR 10news.
The 30-minute political show kicks off at 9:30 a.m. and features two of the three challengers vying for the 15th District seat.
Guests include Rick Staples and write-in candidate Rhonda “Mousie” Gallman, both Democrats.
Independent challenger Pete Drew was invited but said a surprise conflict kept him from taking part in the discussion
Armstrong officially retired in September in the wake of his federal felony tax evasion conviction and just days before the Tennessee General Assembly met for a special session.
A jury in August found the long-time East Knoxville Democrat guilty of filing a false and fraudulent tax return, but declined to convict him on two other charges - conspiracy to defraud the United States, and attempting to evade and defeat taxes.
His sentencing is set for Nov. 30.
Armstrong has since appealed and is seeking a new trial.
However, he can no longer represent the 15th District in the state House or hold any other public office because of the conviction.
As a result, the Knox County Democratic Party picked Staples to replace him in the Nov. 8 general election. He faces Gallman and Drew.
On Inside Tennessee Staples and Gallman tackle a number of issues, including Armstrong's strengths as a leader in the community and his advocacy for increased health care; how they would improve upon priorities he spearheaded; and what they would do about a potential gas tax, something Gov. Bill Haslam has pushed.
The panel features moderator John Becker, WBIR reporter Mike Donila, public relations expect Susan Williams, a Republican, and attorney Don Bosch, a Democrat.
(© 2016 WBIR)