Tennessee’s small business association endorsed Republican Pat Marsh Tuesday in a high-stakes state House special election, and Democrats countered by accusing Marsh of failing to pay his trucking company’s taxes.
The state Democratic Party sniped at Marsh in a direct mail piece to voters in House District 62, which includes parts of Rutherford, Bedford and Lincoln counties in Middle Tennessee.
Marsh is running against Democrat Ty Cobb to succeed Cobb’s brother, Rep. Curt Cobb, who resigned June 30 to become clerk of the Bedford County chancery court. Republicans now control the House by only a 50-49 margin, so the Oct. 13 special election could tilt the balance of power for next year’s session.
The Democrats’ mail piece features a picture of a businessman with a paper bag over his head.
“Pat Marsh can’t hide from his record on taxes and spending,” it reads. “Time and again, Pat Marsh has refused to pay his company’s taxes—piling up five tax liens across three different states.”
Marsh owns the Big G Express trucking company in Shelbyville. In responding to the Democrats' mail piece, his campaign did not deny the accusations. But his campaign manager, Mike McCrady, said in a statement:
“The voters and small business owners of District 62 know what kind of man Pat Marsh is and have seen the jobs he has brought to the area. This mailer from the Democrat attack machine reaching back 16 years demonstrates how desperate the Left is to keep hold of this seat.
Unlike Ty Cobb, Pat Marsh has stood in front of constituents time and again to answer questions about his record and stance on important issues facing the district and state. It seems that Cobb’s campaign is doing everything they can to shift focus from the fact that he refuses to show up and debate the other candidates in this race.”
Earlier Tuesday, the NFIB, which is Tennessee’s leading small business association, said it was endorsing Marsh because he’s “a successful entrepreneur who understands the challenges of running a profitable enterprise.”
Meanwhile Marsh criticized Cobb for failing to appear with him at a candidate town hall forum Monday night.
“Last night’s forum was yet another opportunity missed by Ty Cobb to connect directly with the people he is running to represent,” Marsh said. “I enjoyed last night’s debate and answering constituents’ questions about my plans to address issues important to them. The only question I was unable to answer for voters was, where is Ty Cobb?”