Could Renee Hoyos catch a wave?

Betty BeanFeature, Politics

News that a 28-year-old first-time candidate knocked off a 10-term incumbent in New York’s 14th Congressional District Democratic Primary this week caused national shock waves. It wasn’t even close. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez beat Joe Crowley by a 15 percent margin. She is a Democratic Socialist (think Bernie Sanders, not Karl Marx).


She is also a young Latina with a wide, toothy grin.

Renee Hoyos, who is running in the Democratic Primary for the Second Congressional seat being vacated by Jimmy Duncan, is also a Latina with a wide, toothy grin. Like Ocasio-Cortez, she holds progressive, left-of-center views.

But that’s about it, similarity-wise. Hoyos is no socialist, Knoxville is not New York, and her race against psychologist Joshua Williams will probably turn more on personality than issues, because their views are progressive and quite similar, although Williams may be a smidge to the left of Hoyos.

The race appears to be pretty even, perhaps slanted somewhat toward Hoyos. She and Williams are both hard-working candidates doing the traditional stuff candidates need to do. He started campaigning months before she did; her name is higher on the on ballot. She enjoys some name recognition from her job as executive director of the Tennessee Clean Water Network; he enjoys the status of having Dr. before his name. She has the advantage of having spent a lot of time lobbying legislative bodies and gaining insight into the workings of the sausage-making machine; he has the advantage of credibly claiming deeper experience with healthcare, having worked at Children’s Hospital.

The biggest difference between Hoyos and Ocasio-Cortez is the difference between New York and Tennessee. Ocasio-Cortez, who works as a bartender, is a heavy favorite to win the general election. The winner of Tennessee’s Second District Democratic Primary will have a steep hill to climb in November.

Who won the Battle of Beverly Road?

There was more head scratching than back slapping after Monday’s Knox County Commission meeting. The guy who wanted to get property on Beverly Road rezoned for a residential subdivision probably doesn’t think he won, since he didn’t get the density he said he needed to make the numbers work.

The neighborhood opposition left confused and worried about what would happen next.

Developer Randy Guignard got his request to amend the North County Sector Plan to allow Low Density Residential but withdrew his request to change the zoning from Agriculture/Slope Protection/Stream Protection to Low Density Residential – an odd, bifurcated result that hardly ever happens. Now he must wait a year to re-submit his proposal, which must be “substantially different” from the one that failed.

The neighborhood won a battle this week in an ongoing war.

Why can’t big-shot legislators get elected governor?

Ron Ramsey and Beth Harwell were riding high when Tennessee Republicans took over the General Assembly. Senate Speaker Ramsey’s RonRam PAC was greatly feared (or coveted, depending on whether he liked the candidate or not), and House Speaker Harwell wielded her iron gavel with a velvet glove.

But Ramsey bombed when he tried to become governor, and so will Harwell – probably –because in this era of drain the swamp and morphing “experienced leaders” into “career politicians,” it’s damned hard to make the leap from the state legislature to the governor’s mansion.

Congressional members Diane Black and Marsha Blackburn are doing well in their GOP primaries. (Blackburn is unopposed in the GOP race to replace retiring Sen. Bob Corker; Black is first or second in public polls for governor.) Must be the voters prefer the stink of Washington to the stench of Nashville.

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