And folks just thought they did not have Tim Hutchison to kick around anymore . . . . Looks like the former High Sheriff's move to jump on the Trump Express very early on is going to pay off for him after all. Trump will be appointing a new U.S. Marshall for the Eastern District of Tennessee in a short while, and Hutchison appears to be not only on the list, but the only one on the list. The former sheriff played this one magnificently, getting out in front for Trump while other local, state, and national Republicans were shying away or being coy with their support. If there was a Trump event in East Tennessee that mattered, Hutchison was front and center. To the victor . . . . So, local law enforcement is going to go through a change in the next 18 months: by summer of 2018, not only will we have a new Sheriff in town . . . Lee Tramel . . . but we'll also have a new U.S. Marshall to go with him. All of this makes me want to go binge-watch every season of my favorite TV show - Justified.

Aug 8 2014
11:43 am

Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Gordon Ball emailed media a copy of his victory speech. Here it is:

Good evening. Thank you for coming. And thank you to all of the Tennesseans who voted in this hard-fought election. This is what being a citizen of our country is all about. And I want to especially thank everyone who helped us get here tonight, from Mountain City to Memphis, and of course, right here in our great state’s capitol.

It’s a credit to this great country we live in that someone who grew up in a one bedroom house-trailer – as the son of a moonshiner who understood the value of an education because he never had one, yet wanted a better life for his son – could be standing before you today as the nominee of the Democratic Party for one of the highest offices in our land.


Aug 3 2014
06:59 pm

We're four days away from Election Day and one thing is certain: Democrats need to crank it up a few notches if any of our candidates are to have a real chance at winning. I'm not knocking any or all of the things Democrats are doing already, but we've goy to step it up. Democrats have 7 well-qualified candidates in contested general election races on the ballot: Wimberly, Fansler, Price, Kidd, Padgett, Berrier, and Underwood. 8 years ago, both Wimberly and Fansler were so well-respected that they drew no opposition. They are still respected, but the political dynamic in Knox County has drastically changed since 2006.

It has changed even more since 1998, when Democrats swept to victory in a number of hard-fought judicial races, the DA's race, the County Executive race, and other county races. 1998 was a good year for Knox County Democrats (just ask Fansler, Wimberly, Leibowitz, Nichols, and Schumpert). 2006 was not as good, but we still retained a few courthouse seats, stole a commission seat, and almost took more (my brother, Leon, almost beat Tony Norman in the heavily Republican 3rd district).


For some time, I've been curious about U.S. Senate candidate Terry Adams' decision not to respond to the lengthy, very well-crafted questionnaire Randy put together for Knoxviews. Gordon Ball responded. While some folks might disagree with one or more of his responses, for the most part, they were extremely detailed, and they do provide an extraordinary amount of information about his positions on many issues. Ball was not shy about giving responses to hard questions and saying things he knew some KnoxViewers would not like to hear.


Apr 25 2014
11:23 am

I read with interest today a letter to the KNS editor by Steve Eldridge. The letter took Democrats to task for not recruiting quality candidates to run in the May primary elections and noted the pitiful showing Democrats have made thus far in early voting. Steve is right, on both counts.

We do have quality candidates for a handful of offices:

Circuit Court (Judge Wimberly)
Chancellor (Chancellor Fansler)
Criminal Court judge (Leland Price)
Fourth Circuit (Dan Kidd and Dave Valone)
Sessions Court (George Underwood)
County Clerk (Mike Padgett) and
(Trustee (Jim Berrier)

However, it's downright deplorable (not to mention embarrassing) that we have no candidates on the ballot for the large majority of offices:


Mar 12 2014
09:05 am

Gordon Ball, who is formally announcing his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate later this morning in Hartford, officially launched his "Tennessee Strong" campaign website today. Give it a look: (link...)

Mar 3 2014
02:57 pm
By: knoxrebel

My friend Bobby Drinnon passed away this morning after a long and spirited battle with cancer. Bobby was rather famous in these parts, but his fame extended well beyond East Tennessee. He assisted law enforcement agencies in searching for missing children and in investigating crimes, but his true legacy, in my humble opinion, was using his unique intuitive ability to help folks deal with grief, with crises, and with steering people in what always seemed to be the best and right direction. I loved the man for who he was, for what he meant to my family and so many others, and for being there for us to guide us in his soft-spoken way . . . no matter the parade of horribles that descended upon us.



So, the race for chair of the Tennessee Democratic Party is down to two: former state senator Roy Herron and current party treasurer Dave Garrison. The showdown is next Saturday in Nashville, where the party Executive Committee meets to make its pick.

Herron recently informed Executive Committee members via email that he has more than enough votes for the job, listing the names of 42 of 72 EC members as having committed to him. If so, clearly, the race is over. But my guess is the vote won’t be 42-30 at all. What the Herron email likely reveals is that there are 30 EC members who will not support him, under any circumstances.


Every 2 years, local Democrats get together and select new party leaders at a convention. The next convention is in April. Is anyone interested in stepping up and leading the local party?

I've heard that the local party has become irrelevant to local politics, partly because of its own past failings and partly because of the recent power surge of the GOP here and across the state. Maybe it has. I've been well out of the loop for awhile. But it's hard to imagine things could get much worse.


Dec 22 2011
12:09 pm

My daughter is a newly-certified English teacher at Austin-East and has asked if our law firm could purchase a large number of copies (50-100) of Harper Lee's "To Kill a Mockingbird" for students' use. I'd like to do this, but am at an absolute loss as to the most efficient and cost-effective way to go about it. Any (good) ideas?


I haven't seen the totals for Madeline Rogero, Ivan Harmon, or Joe Hultquist yet, but Padgett says he's raised $146,865 this quarter and $271,769.41 total, with $170,435 on-hand. For someone running his first race against three undeniable political pros, these totals are flat-out impressive by any account. Unless Harmon comes through with numbers in the $75,000+ range to contend via media/direct mail, I think this is going to translate into a Rogero-Padgett run-off with Padgett putting up a pretty tough fight and not conceding any geographic section of town. Game-on.

Oct 23 2009
01:35 pm
By: knoxrebel


Is a Democrat who supports a Republican really a Democrat? I’m what some might call a Yellow Dog Democrat. By that, I mean that I am fiercely loyal to the Democratic Party. Of course, I realize as well that other Democrats – single issue Democrats or so-called Blue Dog Democrats – are sometimes less loyal to the Party. But in a county which is about 57% Republican to about 43% Democrat (insofar as actual voter allegiance is concerned), for Democrats to be successful, they have to receive the support of other Democrats. Recent history shows us that a Republican can get elected in 7 of 9 districts in Knox County without a receiving a single Democratic vote. Not so for Democrats, who – for the most part – must rely upon moderate, less loyal Republicans to get them over the top. So, while Democrats can afford not to be loyal to their Party every now and then, Knox County Democrats do not have that luxury.

After all, Knox County isn’t Cuyahoga County, Ohio or Cook County, Illinois, and Tennessee is not Massachusetts. Democrats in Knox County need to support other Democrats. The repercussions of failing to do so is evidenced by the 2003 City Mayor’s race. That year, a few Knox County officeholders who happened to be Democrats openly endorsed Republican Bill Haslam over Democrat Madeline Rogero in the non-partisan race for Knoxville mayor. The race turned out to be much closer than many had first believed and the consensus opinion (shared by me) was that those elected Democrats’ disloyalty may have cost Madeline the race.

So here we go again, still another Knox County Democrat officeholder – Amy Broyles – has decided to endorse a Republican over a qualified, viable Democrat. Here we are, on the verge of some very important races next May, August and November, just as a few Democrats are considering possible races, and now they see that even if they are nominated, our Party's elected officeholders may not even support them (and may even support their Republican opponents).

I don’t think it is unreasonable for Democrats – who selected our 5 County Commissioners in our Party’s primaries to represent us against Republican opponents to expect those Democrats to support Democratic candidates who face Republican opponents. This disloyalty promises to have a double effect. First, to those who support Amy, the endorsement will probably be the difference-maker. Therefore, the endorsement will undoubtedly cost the Democrat innumerable Democrat votes. Second, it demonstrates to other Democrats considering 2010 races that our Party is not united at all and that if you are a Democrat candidate you can’t even rely upon the support of your own Party’s elected officeholders.

If Amy’s reasoning for endorsing Holman is one of ideology, “bipartisanship” or personal, neither reason is credible. As far as ideology goes, there will always be direct conflicts between the needs of certain more liberal or progressive Democrats and conservative or moderate Democrats. How do they reconcile these? Hopefully, a compromise is achieved. But you don’t promote liberal, moderate or conservative Democrat ideals by supporting Republicans. It just doesn’t make sense, does it? What we need and what we should expect is nearly unfettered loyalty to the Democratic Party (the political home of the Progressive movement, for all practical purposes) by elected Democrats who were chosen by our Party in its primaries.

Randy Nichols’ sin in 2003 was not his disagreement with the ideology of Madeline Rogero. It was supporting a Republican over a very qualified Democrat. Much like Joe Lieberman's sin was not his disagreement with most other Progressives on the Iraq War and other foreign policy issues, but his attack on fellow Democrats and support of Republicans. That, more than anything, is what made his actions inexcusable.

Ideological purity doesn't win elections. Loyalty and unity do. As Democrats, we will never agree with each other on every position, and that's okay. But we must have each other’s back if we expect to push our Democrat agenda forward. I don't mean to say that we can’t disagree, but when push comes to shove, Democrats will only succeed here if we stand together. Besides, Party unity does not require ideological purity. It requires loyalty to the Party. We all have our own unique mix of issues which are preeminent to us. But for us to succeed, everyone who champions Democrat causes needs to be willing to compromise on an overarching agenda for the Democratic Party as a whole. We can’t conveniently abandon the Party or its candidates whenever we want and expect no repercussions to result.

Finally, the reason such an endorsement matters is that the endorsement comes from an elected Democrat who was nominated by Democrats through a Democratic Primary. Personal animosity toward another Democrat should never result in an endorsement of a Republican over that Democrat. It disrespects the Democrats who nominated the elected Democrat. And it is shameful. And to the extent the reasons are based on some ill-devised logic of “bipartisanship,” this is nonsense. If the Republican is elected, then perhaps “the spirit of bipartisanship” would be more persuasive, but why suffer bipartisanship if a qualified Democrat can be elected? You were, after all, nominated by Democrats, who scarcely had reason to believe you would abandon the Party . . . for spite or purely personal reasons.

Everyone of us is entitled to vote as we please, but this doesn’t mean that an elected Democrat should be permitted to go unquestioned when using their elected position as a means to support a Republican over a Democrat. If we are to make Knox County a place where a Democrat can win in any of our nine districts or county wide, we cannot do that if the Democrats we elect wind up turning their backs on qualified fellow Democrat candidates. It is up to us to change this . . . before it is too late.

ED. UPDATE: Tom Humphrey: Clinton Still Planning To Speak at TN Jackson Day

Original post follows...

With the Kennedy funeral scheduled for Saturday, it appears President Clinton and VP Gore may be cancelling their scheduled appearances at Jackson Day. I loved Ted Kennedy. Greatest Senator this country has ever had, in my book. But man, Saturday night in Nashville was gonna be fun. There's still hope they'll make it back. I'm sure the TNDP is holding out hope as well. They put together the best Jackson Day we've ever had. Kudos to Chip Forrester et al.

Hey - I've just learned that a volunteer youth softball coach for Cedar-Bluff-Farragut Optimist softball league was permanently banned from coaching or participating in anything sponsored by the league. It seems there is evidence that indicates the man - a longtime volunteer coach who has what appears from letters, calls, and emails to be the overwhelming support of parents and other coaches - might have been rail-roaded by a league Commissioner and a "Executive Committee" who met secretly to first "suspend" him for one game and then when he appealed the suspension . . . went along with the commissioner's decision to permanently ban him. But that's not the big deal. The big deal is that this commissioner and committee also permanently banned the man's wife and very young kids as well from participating for no reason other than the fact they are related to him. Anyway, the guy has hired a lawyer who has written a letter to the CBFO, Mayor's office, Parks & Recreation Dep't, & the 5th District County Commissioners asking for the man and his family to be reinstated and for an apology. I asked for and just received a copy of it.


Boyd Cloud Saturday Morning Democrat Club
8:00 a.m., July 4, 2009 @ Shoney’s on Western Avenue

Guest Speaker: Commissioner Amy Broyles

I’d like to invite you to attend Knox County’s oldest Democrat club this Saturday morning for an “open forum” to discuss the 2010 race for governor, local and state races, the upcoming city council election, and any other political topic you might have on your mind these days. The club - moderated by State Democratic Executive Committee member Gayle Alley - considered canceling this month’s meeting in deference to the holiday, but decided we’d meet anyway and invite any Democrat - yellow dog or blue dog or liberal, moderate or conservative - to attend and engage in what is often a lively discussion of local, state and national politics.

So, if you are a supporter of an announced Democratic candidate for governor – Kim McMillan, Ward Cammack, Mike McWherter or State Sen. Roy Herron – or are holding out for someone yet to announce – like State Sen. Jim Kyle or Knoxville lawyer Gordon Ball – and want to make a "pitch" for your candidate or learn more about the candidates, come on down. We’ll also discuss other topics of current interest – Bill Lockett’s possible ouster or resignation, redistricting, new Tennessee laws that kicked in today, etc. – and invite you to discuss any other political issue or ask questions.


Aunt Bee is blasting Ward Cammack for his membership in Belle Meade Country Club and his refusal to pull out of the club, saying that the Democratic Party is no place for a man who belongs to an all-white country club:

Listen, if you want to join an all-white country club in the privacy of your own life, go right ahead. I will make fun of you, but I will respect your right to assemble with whom you like.

But if you want to run the whole State of Tennessee, you’ve got to leave this kind of foolishness behind.

It’s not right.

And it’s embarrassing to point that out to a DEMOCRAT.

But worse is this nonsense about how he will stay a member for the sake of the staff.

Don’t do regular folks the favor of putting off doing the right thing so that you can continue to let them have the privilege of serving you.

That attitude needs to be run out of the Democratic party on a rail right this second.


Jun 14 2009
08:06 pm

Anyone know anything about a new lawsuit being readied for filing soon to challenge last year's charter amendment prohibiting county employees from seeking county elected office? My understanding is it will include several plaintiffs who are county employees from various departments.

Jun 12 2009
01:51 pm

40, yes - f-o-r-t-y - individuals, have applied for the office of Administrator of Elections. No word on whether incumbent Greg MacKay is one of the 40, or for that matter, whether any other notables who, as one recent County Clerk candidate put it, want "to be better off than 80% of Knox County," have put their names into the mix. The deadline for submitting resumes was Wednesday.


A highly-reliable source has indicated today that Greg MacKay will retain his position as Administrator of Elections over several GOP applicants - such as Steve Hall, Cindy Buttry and Gary Drinnon. The Commission is accepting resumes and will hold a public hearing in two weeks for the applicants. While it has been rumored that MacKay's job was at the mercy of new GOP appointee Bob Bowman, it is now likely that MacKay's "cavalier attitude" of late is the result of GOP Commissioner Paul Crilly's all-but-certain agreement to support him against any other applicant. With the support of the 2 Democrats on the EC, MacKay wins on a split 3-2 vote. Wonder how well that's going to sit with new GOP Chair Ray Jenkins?

MacKay has an opportunity to receive the support of all 5 commissioners, but this will require him to actually submit a resume and take an active part in the selection process, something he has not yet done.

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