Ed & Bob feel the love at SoKno Taco

Betsy PickleSouth Knox

The latest Ed & Bob Night Out drew at-large County Commissioners Ed Brantley and Bob Thomas across the river for a convivial gathering at SoKno Taco Cantina, 3701 Sevierville Pike.

Brantley and Thomas hold the “Night Out” events to support local restaurants and encourage interaction with voters, but sometimes they seem to turn into love-fests with other politicians and friends. The SoKno Taco night proved to be one of the latter. There were isolated moments of discussion about politics, but mostly it was a chance to play catch-up with pals and enjoy great food and beverages.

County Commissioners Evelyn Gill and Ed Brantley reach across the aisle during the festive gathering at SoKno Taco Cantina.

Brantley and Thomas were supported by fellow commissioners Carson Dailey, the South Knox rep, “Dapper Dave” Wright, Evelyn Gill and John Schoonmaker. Two men hoping to succeed Brantley and Thomas on commission, R. Larry Smith and Larsen Jay, respectively, also attended, as did Don Ridings, a candidate for Knox County Circuit Court Clerk.

Thomas announced his candidacy for county mayor about 14 months ago, so he was working the room assiduously. The crowd included county Republican Party notables and devoted members.

County government elections will be held next year, but several City Council seats are up for grabs starting in August. Stephanie Welch, running for the First District (South Knoxville and Fort Sanders) seat, was the only council candidate who showed up.

Stephanie Welch, a candidate for the First District seat on nonpartisan City Council, has a friendly encounter with County Commissioner and county mayoral candidate Bob Thomas at SoKno Taco Cantina.


County Commissioner Carson Dailey, Carla Hatfield and county Circuit Court Clerk candidate Don Ridings show unity at the Ed & Bob Night Out at SoKno Taco Cantina.

The event introduced many folks from other parts of the county to SoKno Taco, which has quickly become one of the hottest dining spots in town. Newcomers couldn’t wait to check out the fare. Thomas said he and his wife, Kim, liked to try new restaurants on the weekends, and they had discovered SoKno Taco on such an expedition and made it one of their regular destinations.

It appeared that several of the attendees were considering similar follow-up visits themselves.

Ben Harrison and Larsen Jay pause for a photo op during their meal. Ben is a high school sophomore from Minneapolis who is interning this summer at Random Acts of Flowers, of which Jay, the founder, is CEO. Jay has also tossed his hat into the ring to run for the at-large County Commission seat Bob Thomas is vacating in 2018.

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