Local campaigns

Domestic assault charge against Maury County Democratic party chair dropped

Charges of domestic assault were dropped against Maury County’s Democratic Party chairman last week despite a police report that described his girlfriend as having a laceration above her right eyebrow after a confrontation with him, reports the Columbia Daily Herald.

Seth James Campbell, 28, was arrested Oct. 5, the morning after the alleged incident, a Columbia Police report said. After stepping aside briefly as chairman, Campbell was reinstated by the Democratic Party’s steering committee and will continue in his role.

“Everything totally was resolved; the DA dropped all charges,” Campbell told The Daily Herald on Saturday. “The party held an emergency executive committee meeting on Oct. 10 and voted to stay the course, pending a full investigation. With the charges being dropped, they have asked me to continue as chair of the party.”

Campbell challenged state Rep. Sheila Butt, R-Columbia, for her seat in the 2016 election as an independent. The Mt. Pleasant High School special education teacher and assistant football coach was named party chairman in March.

The girlfriend told police she did not want to press charges and sent the newspaper an email saying, “The officers may have had the best of intentions, but Seth should never have been arrested.”

Rep. Sherry Jones seeks election as Davidson County Court Clerk

State Rep. Sherry Jones, a Nashville Democrat who has served for more than two decades, has announce she’s running for election as Davidson County Juvenile Court Clerk next year, reports The Tennessean.

Jones, first elected to Tennessee House District 59 in 1994, recently filed paperwork with the Davidson County Election Commission allowing her to start raising money for the open countywide seat to replace Juvenile Court Clerk David Smith, who is retiring.

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Council breaks tie vote in former Rep. Tindell’s favor

The Knoxville City Council voted Wednesday to break a tie in recent Council primary election results and declare former state Rep. Harry Tindell winner of a place on the general election ballot, reports the News Sentinel.

In the Aug. 29 city primary, Tindell, who served 22 years as a Democrat representing House District 13, and community activist Amelia Parker both got 488 votes in the Council District 4 contest.

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Three charged with election law violations in Bluff City

News release from Tennessee Bureau of Investigation

JOHNSON CITY – An investigation by Special Agents with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has resulted in three Bluff City residents being charged with violating an election law.

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Ketron announces run for county mayor; two announce runs for Senate District 13 seat

State Senate Republican Caucus Chairman Bill Ketron has announced he will not seek reelection to the Senate next year and instead will seek the office of Rutherford County mayor, reports the Daily News Journal. It will be his fourth try to become mayor.

The senator says he has the proven leadership to seek better transportation, a solid waste solution for the pending closure of Middle Point Landfill and the “best education we possibly can.”

“We’re blessed now with two school districts (Rutherford County and Murfreesboro City),” said Ketron, who worries about appropriating the needed funding to build at least a new school each year to keep up with growth. “It’s a challenge.”

A Republican from Murfreesboro, Ketron ran for the office (once called county executive) in 1990, 1994 and 1998. He served on the Rutherford County Commission from 1990 to 1998 and has served in the state Senate since 2002. Ketron’s current term ends in November 2018.

County Mayor Ernest Burgess has served since 2006 and will be finishing his third term in August 2018.

In a separate story, the DNJ reports that Burgess and state Rep. Dawn White of Murfreesboro say they’ll run for the Republican nomination in Ketron’s Senate District 13 seat since he’s not seeking reelection.

“I believe that it is extremely important to ensure that our next state senator is a proven conservative leader who has a record of standing up for hardworking Tennessee families,” White said in her news release.

… “All of us know the complexity of county government, especially Rutherford County, which has been the fastest growing county in Tennessee and requires experienced leadership with strong analytical skills and skilled employee relations,” said Burgess, who has served as county mayor since winning the seat in 2006.

“I have earlier said that Rutherford County needs and deserves strong, talented and committed leadership at both the county and state level. Now that we have Sen. Ketron announcing his candidacy for mayor, this will give an opportunity to focus on my last year as mayor and also consider my future role of service to Rutherford County.”

 

TBI investigating alleged voting violations in Bluff City elections

The TBI is investigating alleged voting law violations in the May 16 Bluff City municipal election for mayor and seats on the Board of Aldermen, reports the Kingsport Times-News.

Sullivan County District Attorney General Barry Staubus requested the TBI investigation after receiving information on possible election irregularities during the May election.

…”On June 19, I requested the TBI to conduct an investigation into the allegations,” Staubus said. “When the investigation is complete, I will review it and determine what action needs to be taken.”

Sullivan County Administrator of Elections Jason Booher said his office referred the matter to Staubus.

“It is the policy of the Sullivan County Election Commission to refer all perceived or alleged allegations of criminal behavior related to an election to the district attorney,” Booher said. “The integrity of elections are held to the highest standard in Sullivan County. I am not at liberty to comment on any matter that has been referred to the district attorney.”

TBI Spokeswoman Leslie Earhart confirmed the investigation and said no further comment would be issued because the investigation is active and ongoing.

Note: In the election, Mayor Irene Wells won another term with 138 votes to 130 for Carolyn Harris Payne and 35 for Cathryn Michelle Woomer, according to the county election commission website. Incumbent Aldermen Ray Harrington and Richard Bowling also won new terms.

Rep. Jimmy Eldridge eyes run for Jackson mayor

Republican state Rep. Jimmy Eldridge says he is “leaning toward” running to become mayor of Jackson in 2019, according to the Jackson Sun.

“I have the experience, I have the energy, I have the health,” Eldridge said in a phone interview. “I have desire to want to continue to serve. It’s not even in my thinking process to ever retire from political life as long as my health is good and my friends, family and community are encouraging me.”

Current Jackson Mayor Jerry Gist’s term runs through 2019 and he has not announced his future plans. Gist has served as mayor since 2007.  (Note: Gist defeated former state Sen. Lowe Finney in 2015, winning with just over 51 percent of the vote.)

Before being elected state representative in 2003, Eldridge, a Jackson native, served on the Madison County Court and Madison County Commission. In addition to his duties as state representative, Eldridge is the chairman of the House Consumer and Human Resources committee.

“I worked through the ranks,” he said. “I didn’t stop and wake up one day, serve on the county commission, and said, ‘Hey, I want to run for mayor.’ I’ve worked through the channels and I think that’s the proper way to do it.”

Eldridge has one more year in his term before his reelection campaign in 2018, one year before a potential mayoral run.  Eldridge said locally it is important the next mayor has a “strong” relationship with the General Assembly.

Columnist Victor Ashe: Pro wrestler a serious contender in Knox County mayor’s race

Glen Jacobs, perhaps better known as the masked professional wrestler “Kane,” is one of at least three Republicans running for the nomination as Knox County mayor and former Knoxville Mayor Victor Ashe writes in his weekly column – after an interview — that he’s a serious contender.

The GOP primary will be May 1, 2018. Besides Jacobs, Knox County Sheriff Jimmy “J.J.” Jones and County Commissioner Bob Thomas are running, says Ashe in the Shopper News column (which now also runs in the News Sentinel). County Commissioner Brad Anders is a possible candidate.

Jacobs has lived in Knox County in Halls for four years with his wife, Crystal, and two daughters, Arista and Devan, who are nurses… He owns an insurance and real estate company on Maynardville Pike. His wife runs the realty company.

…Jacobs compliments Mayor Tim Burchett (who can’t seek another term) for not raising property taxes and pledges “to hold the line on taxes” if he is elected mayor. He calls county Finance Director Chris Caldwell “a very smart guy.” He is conservative in his political views.

He said he has been looking for more than a year at running for mayor. He said “lots of people are tired of the status quo” and upset “that their voice does not matter.” He has been active in the WWE, which is the largest wrestling organization. He has been in active wrestling for 22 of his 50 years and won three world championships.

Bryan Hair is his campaign manager. He attends Gospel Baptist Church in South Knoxville. He feels he needs to raise $150,000 to $200,000 to run an effective campaign.

(Three waitresses asked for Jacobs’ autograph after he and Ashe talked in a restaurant, then four other people came up and did the same)… Jacobs has star quality his competitors can only dream about. Jacobs is a contender to be taken seriously.

Political activist Emison elected mayor, finds ‘financial distress’

John Avery Emison, active for years in statewide Tennessee policy and politics, has been elected mayor of Alamo, defeating 30-year incumbent and Tennessee Municipal League board member Tommy Green.

Since the May 6 election, Emison said in a telephone interview, his review of the Crockett County town’s books indicates the city’s water treatment system is in “financial distress” with an operating deficit that had not previously been reported to the Board of Aldermen.  He’s contacted state officials about the issue.

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TN Democrats oust old, bring in new at county level

News release from Tennessee Democratic Party

Over the past few weeks, thousands of Tennesseans gathered and reorganized 84 of 92 eligible county parties, and elected 52 new county party chairs. The change in leadership in more than half of the counties reflects a more energized group of Tennessee Democrats who are ready to stand up in their communities.

Chair of the Tennessee Democratic Party, Mary Mancini said, “We have seen a huge amount of new energy and interest in the Democratic Party since election day. People from all parts of Tennessee are becoming more active citizens, holding elected officials accountable and joining their county parties.”

Seven of the new chairs were candidates for the state legislature last year. Khristy Wilkinson, who ran for State Senate in Chattanooga, is now the Hamilton County chair. 2016 State Representative candidates Holly McCall (Williamson), Sharon Kay Edward (Bedford), Marjorie Ramsey (Cocke), Daniel Powell (Henry), Amos Powers (Putnam), and Deborah Reed (Tipton) were all elected chair of their respective county.

“The tenacity shown by these former candidates represents their resolve and commitment to continue fighting for Democratic values. They see the Republican supermajority is focused on divisive issues that do not address the everyday needs of Tennesseans. Electing more Democrats starts with growing our county parties and effective and energetic leaders are essential to that effort,” Mancini added.

All told, over 2,000 people participated in the county party reorganizations. It appears that many of the people who showed up in post-election protests and marches are now getting involved formally in the local democratic process. Currently, Tennessee ranks near the bottom in voter participation.

Mancini said, “Increasing voter turnout should be a bipartisan goal. Everyone has a stake in these elections. Many people who thought both parties were the same or that elections didn’t matter realized this year just how large the consequences of elections are. Those people are not only now participating, but they are leading.”

ABOUT THIS BLOG

Former Knoxville News Sentinel capitol bureau chief Tom Humphrey writes about Tennessee politics, government, and legislative news.

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