The above headline, by the way, is purely a rhetorical question – not a hold-my-beer challenge. So please don’t take me literally, Republican friends. We really can’t afford that. But honest to Pete, your passion to punish Gloria Johnson is about to make you look like a bunch of dopes. Again. Less than a year after you recruited a bunch of candidates who were supposed to “sweep” the city council elections. You spent a truckload of cash trying to take over city government and didn’t win a single race.
Evidently you lack an embarrassment gene, or maybe you’ve been so blinded by your lust to punish the mouthy Democrat who represented House District 13 that, after messing with her every way you could by not recognizing her on the House floor, kicking her out of her office and forcing her to conduct her constituents’ business sitting in the hall, and by hiring high dollar consultants to create political ads making her look like a harpy that you’ve taken this once-in-a-decade redistricting opportunity to abolish her District 13 entirely, plopping her home into District 15, which is represented by the other Democrat in the Knox County legislative delegation, Sam McKenzie. The prospect of a Johnson/McKenzie race probably had you drooling.
But Johnson, as you surely already knew, doesn’t play by your rules. She picked up and moved a few blocks east into the new District 90 and has been running hard all summer to represent the new, reconfigured district.
Meanwhile, the rest of us got through county general elections plus state and federal primaries the first week of August and have taken a minute before committing ourselves to the next round, the run-up to the November 8 state legislative and midterm Congressional races These contests traditionally kick off right after Labor Day, but it looks like Knox County Republicans – led by County Mayor Glenn Jacobs and his boy genius policy advisor Andrew Davis are itching to waste some more GOP money.
Jacobs appears to be quite put out with Johnson, most recently for her criticism of the gathering he was scheduled to attend this weekend in somebody’s “detached party barn” with “security-minded” citizens concerned about the prospect of social unrest and violence on the mean streets of Choto.
The public reaction to the oddly worded announcement drew enough bad press to spook the property owner into calling the whole thing off, and although Jacobs didn’t mention her by name, his Twitter response made it quite clear that he was ticked off at Johnson for getting involved:
“Our country, and here locally, we are at a tipping point. The Biden Administration is using the Department of Justice as a political weapon, taking the unprecedented and dangerous measure of raiding the home of a former – and, potentially, future candidate for – President of the United States.
“Here in Knox County, cowardly and hypocritical far Left radicals have threatened and intimidated our neighbors, even causing the cancellation of a planned peaceful assembly.”
“The far Left’s hyperbole and alarmism is tiresome, and their tactics are disgraceful, outrageous and un-American. They invent strawmen to attack, play the victim and demonize, bully and intimidate anyone who doesn’t agree with them.
“Like millions of other Americans, I am fed-up with their childish antics, and I refuse to play along. This is not the America we grew up in and I no longer recognize our country. If every-day Americans do not get involved in the civic process now, we will lose our way of life.”
This sets the stage for a barnburner (so to speak) in the new District 90.
Or does it?
Since ridding our body politic of that pesky woman has been such an obsession for Tennessee Republicans, they probably have a superstar candidate ready to do battle with her this fall. But what they’ve got is a first-time candidate named David Poczobut (po-z-but), who got 2,001 unopposed votes in the primary. Johnson, also unopposed, got 3,690 in the Democratic primary. But more ominous for GOP hopes are the results of a breakdown of District 90 numbers in this summer’s race for Knox County Mayor between Jacobs and Democratic challenger Debbie Helsley (done by Knox County Democratic Party analyst Jack Vaughn).
Helsley outpolled Jacobs 63/36 in the new District 90.
Friedrich Nietzsche never knew Gloria Johnson, but she’s probably pretty close to what he had in mind when he coined his most famous aphorism:
“Whatever doesn’t kill me makes me strong.”
Betty Bean writes a Thursday opinion column for KnoxTNToday.com.