Feb 4 2008
03:14 pm

Not quite lost in all the presidential primary excitement, there are local primaries going on in Knox County and the Knoxville News Sentinel has had some entertaining coverage over the past few days. Click read more for some highlights and follow the links for the full stories.

Other local election info:

Sample Ballot
Knoxville News Sentinel Election Guide
WATE 2008 Voter's Guide
WBIR Candidate Surveys
WNOX 2008 Election Guide
Knoxify Online Candidate Interviews
KnoxViews Election Coverage
WBIR poll re. local government
KnoxViews: 6th District financial disclosures
Political Knoxville: Candidate profiles and disclosures
KnoxViews: Black Wednesday background

Officeholders involves in term-limits lawsuit still prove ability to raise funds

The past year's political chaos in Knox County hasn't slowed fundraising efforts for many of the officials directly involved in the upheaval.

Eleven current or former officeholders who played various roles in the yearlong drama are on Tuesday's primary ballot. All are Republicans.

Squabbling accompanies issues in county clerk race

Just days before Knox County citizens go to the polls, the rhetoric temperature is rising in both the Republican and Democratic races for county clerk.

On the Republican side, Knox County Commission Chairman Scott Moore accused one of his opponents, former Knoxville Police Department spokesman Foster Arnett Jr., of not paying his fair share in property taxes. ... "An honest man would go back and pay the difference," Moore said [Ed. note: make up your own jokes].

Name recognition can be make-or-break factor

Name recognition could help - or hurt - some of the best-known candidates in Tuesday's county primary elections. ...

Mike Fitzgerald, a University of Tennessee political science professor and fellow at the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy, has kept an eye on Knox County's contests. Moore, he said, is "toast."

8th District candidates try to avoid political fray

Charges of insider connections, financial improprieties and intimidation have turned Knox County's 8th District County Commission race into an increasingly furious political melee.

Since all the contenders for the open Seat B are Republicans, the winner will be decided Tuesday. ...

Family members on both sides intervened when Darla Ramsey, Porter's sister-in-law, threatened to sue Huddleston for "slander" after he alluded to Porter's troubled financial past. Wright and Porter were at a forum elsewhere.

Court records show that Porter filed for personal bankruptcy and was named in tax and property liens during the early 1990s. The liens were later released.

"It is no secret that I made mistakes financially and personally due to a drinking habit that I had," Porter said in a letter to the News Sentinel, stressing that his life changed "180 degrees" after a Christian conversion in 1991. The debts were linked to a contentious divorce and a contractor who went bust, leaving his home unfinished, he explained.

Six vie for Seat A in 4th District

The Republican race for West Knoxville's 4th District County Commission Seat A features four candidates including a veteran of local politics who was one of last year's 12 controversial appointees to Knox County Commission.

But it's the Democratic contest that has the sparks flying. ...

"I really am disappointed he decided to run against me," said Davis, a nursery school teacher. "When he first decided to run, he was not sure if he would run as a Democrat or Republican."

Davis said Saunders could have filed as the first Democrat in the 4th District's Seat B race but that he agreed not to run against his friend Ed Shouse, who is seeking the GOP nomination in Seat B. "That was a backroom deal," she said.

Money faces off with public discontent in Seat B race

The Republican primary for West Knoxville's 4th District County Commission Seat B pits a county employee who has raised $42,400 and is running television, radio and newspaper ads against three candidates with less money but high hopes that public discontent will give them an edge.

Lee Tramel, 43, has raised as much as his three opponents combined and was appointed to County Commission last Jan. 31, serving until Oct. 5, when he and 11 others were removed because their appointments violated the state Open Meetings Act. ...

Tramel said he is running for fiscal soundness, saying the issues of "honesty and integrity are superficial."

6th District hopefuls focus on growth, emphasize integrity : Local News : Knoxville News Sentinel

The 6th District's growth and the questions of how it will be managed only underscore all of the candidates' emphasis on bringing integrity and independence back to County Commission, which, among other criticisms, is seen by many voters to be beholden to the local development industry.

Steele takes two to task

Trustee candidate L.B. Steele is criticizing former trustees Mike Lowe and Fred Sisk, saying Lowe works only 30 hours a week and that nepotism and cronyism are rampant in the office.

Three Dems competing to represent 2nd District

Candidates Amy Broyles and Cortney Piper each have raised more than $20,000, compared to $300 received by candidate Chuck Williams from his brother. But Williams said he thinks his competition's spat over a Piper campaign flier could give him an outside chance to win.

"With these two fighting, what happens if I win?" Williams said.

Piper said she stands by the campaign piece that began the controversy. The Piper flier said Broyles abandoned the Democratic Party in a 2006 write-in bid for County Commission and "disenfranchised" voters by precipitating the relocation of a polling place from Knoxville Center to its new site at East Town Crossing Shopping Center near Home Depot.

Broyles called the "attack piece" untrue.

"No one was disenfranchised at any point," said Broyles, 40, who owns a hardwood refinisher with her husband. ...

The winner of the Democratic primary will face Republican Charles Bolus, who is running unopposed. Bolus was appointed Jan. 31 to replace Tindell.

Both incumbent, challenger tout experience, ideas

Karen Carson, Knox County's incumbent school board chairwoman, has a huge fundraising advantage and big-name support, but challenger Laurie Alford hopes her business experience and push for more parental involvement in school system decisions will help her win Tuesday at the polls.

The women are running for the 5th District school board seat.

Carson's financial disclosure forms, filed this week, include contributions from area mayors Mike Ragsdale and Bill Haslam, Raja Jubran of Denark Construction Inc., and other executives and well-known architects.

Public Trust PAC, formed by a group of citizens concerned with good government, was her largest contributor with $4,500.

Carson raised a total of $13,980 in the reporting period that ran from Sept. 25, 2007, to Jan. 26. She has no in-kind contributions.

In comparison, Alford has raised $950 from Dec. 5, 2007, to Jan. 26. Her in-kind contributions total $1,757.

"Money doesn't win elections," Alford said.

In race for cash, Jones leads all

Knox County sheriff hopeful Jimmy "J.J." Jones topped the $150,000 mark in fundraising for this year’s county election, even though he doesn’t have opposition in the GOP primary.

Primary is final showdown for law director spot

Bill Lockett, seeking to become Knox County law director, hopes people will remember last year's political turmoil over term limits and see incumbent John Owings' role as an example of how badly that office needs change. ...

The winner of next Tuesday's Republican primary will be law director for the next four years - there is no Democratic or Independent candidate - and Owings has outspent Lockett almost 5 to 1.

5th District hopefuls reiterate positions

...for the six candidates - Republicans Tom Baer, Richard Briggs, Jim McEvers, Kyle Phillips and John Schoonmaker and independent Don Sproles - the issues were familiar. With the Feb. 5 Republican primary only days away, the candidates emphasized many of the same points they have featured throughout their campaigns. ...

The only real source of new fodder for the candidates was Monday night's County Commission meeting. Reactions to the meeting's name-calling and discussion of charter amendments ran from disbelief to disgust. All six candidates said they supported a public vote on the nine charter amendments, even though they didn't necessarily agree with every amendment.

Appointment looms over 9th District race

When 9th District residents vote in the Republican primary for a county commissioner, the connotation of "appointment" will likely cross their minds.

Similarly, as two candidates - Tim Greene and Mike Brown - have made their cases to become South Knox County's commissioner, the word has jumped in and out of conversations about education, infrastructure and economy.

For Greene, an appointed commissioner from Jan. 31 to Oct. 5, the word means a positive experience where he learned the ropes of county government. ...

For Brown, the word represents the concerns of many unhappy South Knoxville residents.

Back taxes a mix-up, says county hopeful

Richard Cate, a candidate for Knox County Commission in the 4th District, owes back taxes and dirty-lot liens on a piece of property on Lilac Avenue, according to county records. ...

Cate, however, said he thought the property was taken by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court. ...

Cate also was involved in a 2004 bankruptcy case involving Windsor Gardens, an assisted living facility on Central Avenue Pike. The Chapter 11 bankruptcy listed Sherry A. Michael as one of the largest creditors. Cate owned 9 percent of Windsor Gardens, and Michael sued Windsor for sexual harassment. A federal jury awarded her $250,000 in the case.

She claimed she was unlawfully fired by Windsor Gardens owner Brian Bartley after she complained about sexual advances by Cate.

Cate has denied Michael's claims.

Candidate says he didn't think he owned property, still used it to vote

Last week, County Commission candidate Richard Cate said he hadn't paid taxes on a vacant lot because he thought it had been taken in a personal bankruptcy.

The Election Commission, however, says he used the lot at 4001 Lilac Ave. in Burlington to vote in four city elections after the 2004 bankruptcy, including last year's city races.

Office veteran, five outsiders in Republican race

The most crowded race in Knox County's primaries on Feb. 5 will be in the Republican contest for trustee, where five outsiders and a seasoned veteran of the trustee's office want to become the county's tax collector.

The winner of the Republican primary will face the sole Democrat in the race, school board member Robert Bratton, 45, who also served on County Commission from 1990 to 1998.

Candidates want more attention on 1st District

Six candidates - three men, three women, five of them Democrats and one a Republican - are seeking Knox County Commission 1st District, Seat A.

All of them say this year's race is about changing their district's power structure.

Five Democratic candidates seeking the seat held by longtime former Commissioner Diane Jordan use the words "revitalization," "development" and "accountability" when they explain the needs of their district.

For more local election coverage:

Sample Ballot

Knoxville News Sentinel Election Guide

WATE 2008 Voter's Guide

WBIR Candidate Surveys

WNOX 2008 Election Guide

Knoxify Online Candidate Interviews

KnoxViews Election Coverage

WBIR poll re. local government

KnoxViews: 6th District financial disclosures

Political Knoxville: Candidate profiles and financial disclosures

KnoxViews: Black Wednesday background

(Originially posted 2008-02-03 14:21:42)

gonzone's picture


SKB, err ... Randy Neal, made the big time!
Interviewed on WUOT this morning.
Get y'er autographs before it's too late. :-)

Seriously, congratulations.

R. Neal's picture

Thanks! I'm just


I'm just appreciative of the brevity of the quotes, which suggest clarity of thought missing in some of the other ramblings they could have used.

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