On Knoxville mayor’s transgender write-in opponent

A write-in candidate for Knoxville mayor, named Jack Knoxville, tells Georgiana Vines he’s running as a write-in candidate against incumbent Mayor Madeline Rogero in Tuesday’s city elections because “I don’t think any candidate should run unopposed.”

He is transgendered — born Jessica Ann LeMin — and talks about the change freely.

Knoxville, a native of New York, said he spent most of his life in Myrtle Beach, S.C., and came to Knoxville about three years ago when “I was in the process of becoming Jack.” The name was legally changed in Chancery Court in January.

He said he is running because he is concerned about a lot of things and has a lot of ideas. He cited trash on the sides of roads that needs to be cleaned up.

“Knoxville is so beautiful,” he said.

Knoxville, 36, describes himself as a freelance web designer with a business, Smoky Mountain Media Group.

“I’m a jack of all trades,” he said.

He’s spent only $90, according to a filing with the Knox County Election Commission, and he donated the money. He hasn’t named a treasurer, which Elections Administrator Cliff Rodgers said is “inconsistent” with state law.

…In response to Knoxville’s comment about wanting the mayor to have an opponent, Rogero said she didn’t understand how running just to give an incumbent opposition “and without mounting any kind of visible campaign serves to elevate our city or public discussion.”

“I do think our city is served when candidates with a record of voting and civic involvement are willing to engage in vigorous outreach and the dialogue about our city and its future. That’s what I did in my four previous campaigns (1990, 1994, 2003 and 2011) and how I’ve served as mayor,” she said in an email.