Circuit Court Judge Hamilton “Kip” Gayden confirms that he will not run for re-election, stepping aside in a race that both David Briley and Wendy Longmire have entered.
Gayden, 82, has been a state trial court judge for 47 years, the longest tenure in the county’s history.
In a letter to Gov. Bill Lee, Gayden says that he will retire from the bench effective Jan. 31, 2022, months before his term is set to expire. The vacancy gives Lee a chance to appoint someone for the balance of the year.
“I hope I have lived up to the trust bestowed upon me these past memorable years,” Gayden writes. “On a personal note, I particularly hope that one of my ancestors, who helped draft, and was one of the original signatories of the original constitution of the state of Tennessee, might be proud of my judgeship, if he was alive today.”
Gayden says he expects to spend more time with his children and grandchildren, all of whom live out of state.
Gayden’s seat is the second contested on the circuit court bench after former Legal Aid attorney Lynne Ingram announced her run against embattled Judge Kelvin Jones.
While candidates may declare and begin fundraising for judicial races, they cannot pull papers to run until December for the May 3 primary election.