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One Republican and one Democrat have qualified to run in a special election in Hamilton County to succeed the late Rep. Mike Carter.

Carter, R-Ooltewah, died in May after a months-long battle with pancreatic cancer, a diagnosis he received late last year as he was recovering from COVID-19.

Greg Vital, owner of a large regional assisted living company and an environmental conservationist, is the only Republican who qualified in the race, while DeAngelo Jelks, a U.S. Army Reserve captain and human resources professional, is the sole Democrat.

A primary election will be held July 27, despite only one candidate from each party qualifying, while the general election is scheduled for Sept. 14. There will be no early voting period for the uncontested primary election.

State Rep. Mike Carter: State Rep. Mike Carter dies at 67 after battle with pancreatic cancer

Carter’s widow, Joan Carter, was appointed by the Hamilton County Commission earlier this month to temporarily hold the District 29 seat.

Vital in 2012 narrowly lost a primary election against Sen. Todd Gardenhire, a Republican race that proved to be both expensive and bitter between the two candidates. Gardenhire won the primary by just 40 votes.

Vital co-founded Morning Pointe Senior Living 25 years ago, a company that owns and operates 35 senior living and Alzheimer’s facilities in five states.

The current chairman of the Land Trust for Tennessee and former chairman of the National Parks Conservation Association explained in a statement his platform is “standing for life, defending the Constitution, taking on Big Government, supporting our businesses and protecting our conservative values.”

Jelks, who grew up in Atlanta, joined the Army Reserves as a junior in high school and was later deployed to Iraq. He moved to Chattanooga in 2007 for graduate school.

“Generations of Conservative leadership have not improved our schools,” Jelks wrote on Twitter on Thursday. “Streamlined accessible and affordable healthcare is still under attack. Free & fair elections have been labeled socialist. I just want people to have a real voice.”

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Reach Natalie Allison at nallison@tennessean.com. Follow her on Twitter at @natalie_allison.

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