Knox will have (at least) one new legislator

Sandra ClarkLet's Talk

Noon Thursday, April 7, was the deadline to return a qualifying petition to run for state and federal offices. (State Senate candidates got an extension until noon May 5.)  The primaries are Thursday, Aug. 4, and the general election is Tuesday, Nov. 8.

Eddie Mannis’s decision not to seek a second term opened District 18 to two interesting races. The first is the GOP primary between Janet Testerman and Elaine Davis. Testerman is an at-large member of Knoxville City Council, while Davis has been an official in the local Republican Party and served briefly on Knox County Commission. It’s a West Knoxville district with a dash of South Knox added with redistricting. The winner of this brawl will face UT Professor Gregory Kaplan, a serious Democrat in a swing district.

Michele Carringer got no opposition from either party, securing the seat she won in 2020. District 16 was represented from 1994-2020 by Bill Dunn. If Carringer serves as long, it will be 2046 before Halls and Powell have a new representative.

Dave Wright in District 19 got a virtual free ride in the county’s most consistently Republican area. Democrat Zeke Streetman and independent Mary Ann Rochat also qualified.

Sam McKenzie faces minimal opposition from Republican Pete Drew in District 15.

Jason Zachary should coast in District 14 (Farragut). Democrat Amanda Collins has qualified.

Justin Lafferty likewise should win in District 89 (Karns area). Democrat M.D. Dotson has qualified.

Gloria Johnson will work like heck and should win in her new District 90. The Republican super-majority squeezed Johnson and McKenzie into District 15 and drew Johnson’s old District 13 across the state. Johnson just moved into the new district, a couple of streets over, and started working. Two Republicans have qualified: David “Pozy” Poczobut and Sherry W. Ailor.

Sens. Richard Briggs and Randy McNally are seeking re-election but those races aren’t set because of the extended deadline.

There you have it. Republicans outnumber Democrats 7-2 currently, with the potential to swing to 8-1 if Johnson loses to Ailor or Pozy – or 6-3 if Kaplan picks up the Mannis seat. It’s a long time till November.

Election info here.

Sandra Clark is editor/CEO of Knox TN Today.

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