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Wilson opts out of special state Senate race

Jared Felkins • Updated Sep 30, 2017 at 8:00 AM

Conservative Army veteran Steve Wilson explained his decision Friday not to seek the District 17 state Senate seat in the upcoming special election. 

The seat opened when Mae Beavers decided to vacate her seat in the Senate to run for governor. Primaries are scheduled for Nov. 7, and the General Election will be Dec. 19. 

Mark Pody will run unopposed in the Republican primary, and Mary Alice Carfi will follow suit in the Democratic primary. 

Pody, current District 46 state representative, is an insurance salesman in Lebanon. Carfi is an attorney in Old Hickory and Mt. Juliet and was awarded best attorney in Mt. Juliet by a local media outlet in 2016. 

Wilson initially qualified to run as a Republican in the six counties that make up District 17, but opted out of the race before the qualifying deadline Thursday. 

“Extenuating circumstances and timing have led me to the decision to shutter my campaign for the state Senate in District 17 of the great state of Tennessee,” Wilson said Friday in a statement. “Myself, family, staff and countless volunteers remain appreciative for the overwhelming support, guidance and downhome education gleaned from the citizens of this sprawling district. Thank y’all for allowing us to participate in your cities and counties.”

Wilson said a meeting with Pody made him realize he planned to back Pody in the special election. 

“Sharing some personal insight, I met with Rep. Mark Pody before qualification for this seat to share my intentions and desires,” Wilson said. “Our discussion was shared and received as friends in the most positive and professional manner. Smiles were exchanged by both of us, coupled with prayer, and [the meeting] concluded with a firm handshake and a man hug. Mark Pody is a good man. He is the right person, right now, to serve as our state senator. As the Good Book says, ‘when a door is closed, another one always opens.’ I intend to remain active and forward leaning in the process as it may apply to assisting Mark Pody as state senator, as well as whatever political opportunities may avail themselves in the near term.” 

Wilson spent more than 40 years in the U.S. Army and the Tennessee National Guard and retired as a colonel of field artillery. Wilson’s wife, Rita, currently serves in the Tennessee National Guard. The couple has two sons, Cory and Clint, who both serve in the National Guard. They also have three grandchildren.

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