The Republican primary election for Knox County mayor isn’t until May 2018, but the race is heating up with controversy surrounding the Bob Thomas campaign, Glenn Jacobs’ misplaced efforts and the momentum of Brad Anders’s fundraising.
According the Anders campaign, fundraising recently surpassed $100,000 with another major fundraiser coming up later this fall. Anders is quietly gaining support from colleagues on Knox County Commission, the usual suspects at the Chamber, the real estate industry, and a couple of influential county-wide elected officials.
Why does Brad Anders have momentum?
First, at-large Commissioner Bob Thomas may be the only candidate in history with fewer supporters 18 months after the campaign kickoff. Unforced errors related to a golf tournament may result in an ethics investigation. None of this helps Bob Thomas. It’s driving potential (and former) Thomas supporters to the Anders campaign by default.
Second, wrestler-turned-aspiring-politician Glenn Jacobs has yet to assemble anything resembling a winning campaign. It’s easy to forget that back in July the Jacobs campaign held a fundraiser featuring retired professional wrestler Ric Flair at Cherokee Country Club. Ric Flair is great to draw a crowd. The guy is famous. But how many folks at Cherokee Country Club watch professional wrestling? Also, how many voters who watch professional wrestling are comfortable showing up at Cherokee Country Club? Since July, Jacobs has held other events which have drawn crowds but questionable numbers of actual voters. It’s unclear whether Jacobs has figured this out yet.
What does all this mean for the mayoral campaign?
Brad Anders is gaining momentum because he’s not Bob Thomas or Glenn Jacobs. Also, things are going well in Knox County. Tim Burchett has put in two solid terms as mayor and is parlaying that success into a congressional race. Few folks are in love with the idea of Brad Anders being mayor, but at least Anders can competently manage county government.
In this age of Trump, competent management may be enough.
Scott Frith is a local attorney. You can visit his website at pleadthefrith.com