Knox County

Report says cyberattack on Knox County election website came from from foreign countries, including Ukraine

Investigators found evidence of a “malicious intrusion” into the Knox County Election Commission’s website from a computer in Ukraine during a concerted cyberattack as results of this month’s local primary election were being reported, reports the Associated Press.

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Knox County’s probable new mayor has been a wrestling libertarian

Former professional wrestler Glenn Jacobs’ win in the Republican primary for Knox County mayor – which usually means assured victory in the general election against the Democratic nominee – has inspired the inevitable comparison with former professional wrestler Jesse Ventura, who was mayor of a Minnesota town before his election as that state’s governor.

In a lengthy report on pro wrestlers as politicians, the News Sentinel says Jacobs “is expected to win handily” over Democrat Linda Haney, and includes comments from Gov. Bill Haslam (who, if Jacobs is elected in August, will be a constituent, assuming he returns to Knoxville) and a Ventura aide. Excerpt:

John Wodele was a Ventura aide serving as spokesman and political adviser for the former wrestler during his time as governor. He said people shouldn’t be surprised that wrestlers like Jacobs and Ventura have been successful.

“I mean, I would just say that in our democratic elected republic maybe it’s unusual that these wrestlers are running for office, but given the way that the WWE and other wrestling entertainment factions operate these days, they’re well-known people and they start with a base and there’s no reason they can’t run and can’t be successful,” Wodele said.

“I know a lot of people stick up their nose at wrestlers, and they did that to Ventura and he ended up looking down on them and I think that’s wonderful, I really do,” he (Jacobs) said.

…Haslam said being a mayor is an “incredibly important” position. When asked, Haslam said he’d emphasize to Jacobs that the role isn’t a political one.

“Having said that, Knox County government is like the city of Knoxville and the state of Tennessee, it’s a big service organization, we provide a lot of services to folks,” he said. “So, it’s critical that people in leadership positions understand that at the end of the day this is really not a political job. It’s about providing services all across the city or the county or the state.”

A separate article characterizes Jacobs politically as a libertarian, though he “toned down the rhetoric on the campaign trail over the past year” as compared to earlier writings and statements. And he was endorsed in his campaign by U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.

Both were featured speakers at an event for the libertarian youth activist group Young Americans for Liberty in Atlanta last year.

“(Jacobs’) small government and pro-liberty philosophy of government – on education, the economy, regulation, taxes and more – is exactly what we need more of in our politics,” Paul said. “It’s why I think Glenn would be an excellent choice for mayor of Knox County.”

Provisional ballots add to former pro wrestler’s victory margin in Knox County GOP mayor contest

With provisional ballots counted, former professional wrestler Glenn Jacobs’ Republican primary victory in this week’s Knox County mayoral election increased from 17 votes to 23, reports the News Sentinel. Runner-up Brad Anders, a county commissioner, conceded once the final unofficial count was completed.

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Cyberattack crashes Knox County Election Commission website

Knox County officials say the election commission website that displays election results crashed on Tuesday night — when tallying of local primary election results was underway — due to a “deliberate” and “widespread” cyberattack, reports the News Sentinel. A cyber security contractor is now looking into the problem.

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Ex-pro wrestler ‘Kane’ wins Knox County mayor primary; state Rep. Kane loses clerk race

Glenn Jacobs, a former professional wrestler known by the stage name “Kane,” won the Republican nomination as Knox County mayor Tuesday by 17 votes, according to final unofficial returns from the county election commission. He had 14,633 votes with runner-up Brad Angiers at 14,616 and third candidate, Bob Thomas, at 11,296.

State Rep. Roger Kane (R-Knoxville), who decided to seek election as Knox Country clerk rather than another term in the state House, lost to Sherry Witt, who is currently serving as county registrar of deeds. Witt had 23,168 votes to Kane’s 14,620.

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Former Sen. Campfield, former Sheriff Hutchinson seeking state House seat

Stacey Campfield, one of the state’s more controversial legislators before losing a bid for reelection to the Senate in 2014, is one of five Republicans picking up a qualifying petition to run for the state House District 89 seat that is being vacated by Rep. Roger Kane (R-Knoxville), according to the Knox County Election Commission. Another is former Knox County Sheriff Tim Hutchinson.

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Knox County mayor candidate arrested in California

Knox County mayoral candidate Rhonda “Mousie” Gallman is being held in a California jail on $100,000 bond after being arrested as arrested in Los Angeles on charges of preventing a witness from testifying in court, reports the News Sentinel.

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Convicted former Knox trustee briefly jailed for failing to pay restitution

Former Knox County Trustee Mike Lowe was arrested Tuesday on a probation violation charge for falling behind — to the tune of $13,450 — in paying restitution to county coffers for his admitted thievery, reports the News Sentinel. He was released from jail after posting a bond of $13,450.

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FBI agents asking questions about Knox County Mayor Burchett

FBI agents have interviewed at least four people, asking questions about Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett, who is running for the 2nd Congressional District seat, according to the News Sentinel. The people interviewed said FBI agents asked about issues ranging from possible tax evasion to potential bribery and a county contract.

When reached Thursday, Burchett said, “No truth to any of it.”

The USA TODAY NETWORK – Tennessee obtained a copy of a document drafted by an attorney that states Burchett’s ex-wife, Allison, was a confidential informant for the FBI, with the code name “Carbon,” since 2012.

Allison Burchett said she began working with the FBI in 2012 but declined further comment.

“I’m sorry I cannot comment on an ongoing FBI investigation,” she said.

The three other sources requested anonymity for fear of reprisals.

Federal investigators conducted several interviews this year, including as recently as October, sources said. The interviews were conducted in various locations, including the FBI’s Knoxville headquarters.

One source said an IRS agent also has been involved in the inquiry.

… “I’m not sure what they’re charging, but it’s coming pretty soon,” one source said. “This is very, very serious. It’ll blow Knoxville wide open.”

UPDATE: Burchett responded “defiantly” to the article a day later, reported the News Sentinel and other Gannet newspapers. Excerpted quote:

“I’ve never been contacted by the FBI concerning any of this stuff. I really don’t think there’s any such inquiry… To have a major news story based upon my convicted ex-wife and unnamed sources and for this to be treated as legitimate news, to me is beyond belief,”

Burchett offered check (declined) and apology (accepted) after Saudi teen’s attack

Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett, a candidate for the 2nd Congressional seat being vacated by Rep. John J. “Jimmy” Duncan, was one of several motorists who came under attack from a Saudi Arabian citizen who recently enrolled at the University of Tennessee to study nursing, reports the News Sentinel. The youth’s lawyer says he suffered “an unexpected mental breakdown” in the episode, which warrants say involved pounding on cars and grabbing at the drivers as they passed him on a street near the UT Knoxville campus.

“Did they screen this guy at all for mental health issues?” Burchett said Friday of 19-year-old Nofl Hassan Alatyah. “I’m not getting any answers, and I’m very frustrated.”

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