Sen. Brenda Gilmore retirement could trigger 'Anti-Skullduggery' law

Janet Napolitano, Brenda Gilmore, Thelma Harper
Posted at 4:45 PM, Apr 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-15 23:15:52-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The retirement of the longtime legislator, Sen. Brenda Gilmore, could trigger the "Anti-Skullduggery" law after her quiet retirement announcement from the Tennessee General Assembly.

The news of Sen. Gilmore's retirement originally came from a spokesperson from the state House caucus.

Since the senator is backing away from the District 19 race after the April 7 deadline, it means the filing deadline will be reopened for new candidates for seven days as long as Gilmore withdraws her papers. Gilmore said in an interview with NewsChannel 5 Friday night she would do so.

Gilmore spent decades up at the state capitol, first starting in the House before transitioning to the upper chamber in the Senate. Previously, she sat on the Nashville Metro Council for years.

Gilmore's clout travels in the halls of the state capitol building, where she has had her voice heard on a myriad issues in many committees.

State Rep. Mike Stewart is another long-time Nashville Democrat who's stepping aside this year.

He said it's difficult to describe how he feels about Gilmore's influence.

"There is no one I have served with of who I have a higher opinion than Sen. Gilmore," Stewart said. "So, we are definitely losing a great public official."

Stewart said he's leaving so he can focus his efforts on combating fake fraud claims in the next presidential election.

Senator Gilmore said she wanted to enjoy her life while she was healthy and pass on "pearls of wisdom" while she still could.

But, her announcement could have triggered Anti-Skullduggery act, which is a serious law to prevent a potential passing-of-the-baton situation in elections as Rep. Stewart put it.

There's only one candidate currently in the race for District 19.

Keeda Haynes is a former public defender and congressional candidate, who ran against now-retiring Jim Cooper, D-Nashville.

The law requires a filing window for other potential candidates to enter the race. According to the Davidson County Election Administrator, it will be between April 21 and 28 if Gilmore gives the proper paperwork for her withdrawal to the election commission. She hasn't yet.

Rep. Stewart said he thinks the law makes sense.

"The law is structured so that if somebody decides to get out, additional people can consider the election. So, I think it's fair to everybody," he said.