Legislative races set for summer primaries

Sandra ClarkLet's Talk

State and federal races are set for the Aug. 6 primary and Nov. 3 general elections. The qualifying deadline was noon Thursday, April 2. (Candidates can withdraw before noon Thursday, April 9.)

Congress: Expect a rematch of 2018 between U.S.  Rep. Tim Burchett (R) and Renee Hoyos (D). Others who qualified have less name recognition and organization. They are Chance C. Brown (D), John B. McStay (D), Joshua Gregory (I) and Hakeem Hensley (I).

State Senate, District 6: Sen. Becky Duncan Massey (R), Sam Brown (D) and Jane George (D).

State House, District 13: Rep. Gloria Johnson (D) vs. Elaine Davis (R). For the first time, Johnson won’t have former Rep. Eddie Smith to kick around in this sprawling district that includes parts of north, south and inner city Knoxville.

State House, District 14: Rep. Jason Zachary (R) saw his expected Republican opposition vaporize and is left with only Justin Davis (D) in this Farragut-based district.

State House, District 15: Rep. Rick Staples (D) drew fire from four opponents in this East Knoxville district: Ovi Kabir (D), Sam McKenzie (D), Matthew Park (D) and Troy B. Jones (I).

State House, District 16: Rep. Bill Dunn retired after representing this North Knox district since 1994, opening the field for three strong competitors: Patti Bounds (R), Michele Carringer (R) and Elizabeth Rowland (D).

State House, District 18: Rep. Martin Daniel is gone, leaving open this mostly city district in west and northwest Knoxville. Candidates are James Corcoran (R), Eddie Mannis (R), Gina Oster (R) and Virginia Couch (D).

State House, District 19: Rep. Dave Wright drew zero opponents after his first term from East Knox County. Cool, Dave.

State House, District 89: Rep. Justin Lafferty, also a first-termer, has one opponent, Greg Mills (I).

Random Thoughts: Congratulations to the Democrats for fielding a team. You can’t win if you don’t run, folks. Statewide, though, the Democratic Party has become irrelevant. The fight is between Republicans – pragmatic business types versus ideologues. Gov. Bill Lee is our first ideologue governor, but he’s so accidental that it’s hard to make the Republican primaries about pro-Lee and anti-Lee factions. It more like a struggle between those who have moved past the Civil War and those who want to keep fighting.

Incumbent most likely to lose: Rick Staples. He’s a nice guy with a lot to overcome. First, he needs to find a home in the district. He listed 614 West Hill Ave., #8A on his petition.

District most likely to flip: Republicans would say District 13, predicting a loss for Gloria Johnson. But I don’t see that. Johnson has gained strength year to year and her district will generate a large turnout in a presidential election.

Sentimental favorite: Eddie Mannis in District 18. He carried the Republican flag in the recent mayoral race, losing to Democrat Indya Kincannon. Everybody who regrets that loss has a chance to make it right. But goodness gracious. If Eddie thought city government moved slowly, what will he do about the sausage-making mess in Nashville?

Sandra Clark is editor/CEO of KnoxTNToday.com.


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