Dear Marshall: Listen to the squirrel

Sandra ClarkGossip and Lies

What happened, you say, Marshall Stair? Well, you were going door to door in the Whittle Springs area when a falling pine cone knocked you out. Maybe a squirrel threw it.

When you came around, it was Aug. 28. The election was yesterday and, we’re really sorry to say, but it looks like you were squeezed out. That’s too bad, because you are a great general-election candidate – everybody’s second choice.

Eddie Mannis harnessed the frustration out in the ’burbs – frustration with Recode Knoxville, with 16 years of mayors whose priority was downtown and its adjacent business districts. Frustration with begging for sidewalks on school routes while watching money spent for out-of-town artists to draw murals in alleyways.

Indya Kincannon raised less money for her campaign, but she spent it wisely. She gathered a collection of condo-dwelling, scooter-riding, We-Love-Madeline T-shirt-wearing, Democratic Party activists and slid into the runoff.

Marshall, it was a squirrel. The little guy was just trying to get your attention. He was yelling two words: Trump and taxes.

Ask Mannis about Donald Trump. The president may be polling 70 percent countywide, but he’s underwater inside the city. Renee Hoyos beat Tim Burchett inside the city. Mannis can’t carry Trump on his back and win the Knoxville mayor’s race; but he can’t afford to renounce Trump and risk alienating his key backers and contributors.

Ask Kincannon about taxes. Her supporters will expect (demand) programs that city taxpayers cannot afford.

Too bad the squirrel didn’t speak up sooner. The election is next Tuesday. Three strong candidates for mayor. Each with passionate supporters; each with flaws. Two candidates will move on to the general election. And the one who finishes in third place will wake up next Wednesday pondering what might have been.

  • Eddie Mannis surged on fundraising in the last month, according to disclosures due Aug. 20 at the Election Commission. Mannis raised $70,310 to $50,573 for Stair and $21,518 for Kincannon. Three other candidates for mayor demonstrated the weakness of their campaigns: Michael Andrews reported raising $100 but didn’t itemize the donor; Calvin Taylor Skinner missed the deadline to file; and Fletcher Burkhardt is still in the red ($1,197 cash on hand; $1,480 loans outstanding).
  • Bill Dunn had been speaker of the Tennessee House for two weeks when Powell held its annual Travis Wegener car show. Dunn was making hamburgers for the fundraiser when a young woman approached the table. “You’re, you’re …” she said. Dunn smiled. “You’re Michael Dunn’s father!” Dunn took an “aw, shucks” attitude as he served from Glen Casada’s resignation on Aug. 2 until tomorrow’s special session at which Cameron Sexton is expected to be elected speaker.
  • The News Sentinel failed to endorse candidates in the upcoming mayor and city council races. Guess the guy from Nashville didn’t make it to town in time to tell them what to do.

Sandra Clark, editor/publisher of Shopper News (June 1971-April 2017), is editor/CEO of KnoxTNToday Inc.

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