Lineup of candidates for governor: 7 Republicans, 5 Democrats, 35 independents

Tennessee’s better-known Republican and Democratic gubernatorial candidates could face a quartet of nationally famous, unconventional hopefuls who’ve also filed petitions to run for the state’s top office, reports the Times Free Press in a review of candidates who filed qualifying petitions before the deadline this week.

Basil Marceaux Sr., the perennial candidate from Soddy-Daisy who made the internet swoon in the 2010 governor’s race over his concerns about the “gold finch flag” and a pledge to “immune you from all state crimes for the rest of you life!” is back this year as a Republican candidate.

And Mark E. Clayton, an anti-LGBT activist who in 2012 stunned Democrats by capturing their party’s U.S. Senate nomination, is making a run for the party’s gubernatorial nomination, according to a list of petitions on the Tennessee Secretary of State’s website.

Not to be outdone, Mark “Coonrippy” Brown, who launched a one-man crusade and 2014 gubernatorial bid to publicize his quest to challenge state wildlife officials’ seizure of Rebekah, his pet raccoon, is making a return engagement in 2018 as well.

(Note: Brown ran in the GOP primary in 2014 but filed as an independent this year; previous post HERE. Marceaus is seeking the GOP nomination; Clayton the Democratic nomination)

Meanwhile, Ocoee restaurateur Rick Taylor, who triggered an uproar in his unsuccessful he 2016 bid in the 3rd Congressional District with a billboard saying “Make America White Again,” has filed to run as an independent in the governor’s race.

The four are among dozens of candidates who turned in their petitions to run by noon Thursday, the deadline for candidates to file.

Tennessee has a fairly low bar to qualify for public office compared to a number of states. All you need are the signatures of 25 qualified, registered voters. There is no fee.

Note: There were seven candidates filing for the Republican gubernatorial nomination and five on the Democratic side when the qualifying deadline passed at noon on Thursday. There were 35 candidates filing as independents in the governor’s race, though the Division of Elections’ website indicates the voter signatures on several of the qualifying petitions still had not been verified as of Friday. The full list of those qualifying in the governor’s race, the U.S. Senate race and congressional district races is HERE.

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