Our friend John Becker hosts two entertaining “Inside Tennessee” shows on WBIR-TV over the holidays. This year panelists Don Bosch (D), Susan Richardson Williams (R), Eddie Smith (R) and Ramsey Cohen (D) opined on local, state and national winners and losers for 2020. This Sunday (1/3) the same panel will project winners and losers for 2021. Here’s a scorecard so you can play along.
Local winner 2020
Don Bosch – tie between Dr. Martha Buchanan and Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon
SRW – Eddie Mannis (who lost a nonpartisan race for Knoxville mayor, then voted in the Democratic Primary in March, then ran for state rep in the August GOP Primary). “Against all odds he won.”
Eddie Smith – tie between Eddie Mannis (R) and Sam McKenzie (D). Both are going to Nashville as newly elected representatives.
Ramsey Cohen – Ditto on Sam McKenzie and Eddie Mannis
Local loser 2020
Cohen – Rick Staples (defeated in the Democratic Primary by McKenzie) “There’s no coming back for him.”
Smith – Larsen Jay (chair of Knox County Commission) “He’s said to be eyeing a run for mayor but the way he’s handled things on commission, adjourning without a vote. …”
SRW – Rick Staples – “He had done a good job. It was a shame about the campaign funds.”
Bosch – Bryan Hair – “New to local politics, ran surprising campaign (for Glenn Jacobs), got a job as chief-of-staff at a $170,000 salary and sort of frittered it away with foolishness.”
State winner 2020
Bosch – U.S. Rep Jim Cooper – “Ranking Democrat in the state will be (Biden’s) gatekeeper for all things Tennessee.”
SRW – Cameron Sexton – “He is ambitious … has been unifying speaker (of the House).”
Smith – Cameron Sexton – For his leadership during pandemic. “He kept the House together and got some things done (when the Senate wanted to come home).”
Cohen – Organizers like Indivisible and Black Lives Matter – have done fantastic job recruiting candidates and getting people out to protest.
State loser 2020
Cohen – Bill Lee – “A total failure during the pandemic. We’ve seen cowardice out of governor’s office.”
Smith – Tennessee Democratic Party – No blue wave – Nothing changed and redistricting means “another decade of Democratic irrelevancy.”
SRW – James Mackler – “He spent $1.5 million and ran third behind Marquita Bradshaw and Robin Kimbrough (for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate). He was a good candidate. I don’t know what went wrong.”
Bosch – The state’s handling of the pandemic. We’ve done an OK job in Knoxville but could be better. Also disappointed in public response.
National winner 2020
Bosch – Stacey Abrams – Transformational in engaging voters, organizing them. She changed Georgia.
SRW – National Republican Congressional Committee. Predictions all around for blue wave, yet Republicans gained 10 seats in the House. The anti-Trump vote did not go down-ballot.”
Smith – “I agree with Time Magazine – Front line workers and emergency responders; also, President Trump and Operation Warp Speed; and Biden-Harris
Cohen – Stacey Abrams
National Loser 2020
Cohen – Donald Trump
Smith – The American people because of the loss of President Trump
Susan – Speaker Nancy Pelosi
Don – Trump x 100. Not even close
Sandra Clark is editor/CEO of Knox TN Today.