Trump ignores TNGOP hierarchy in setting up Knox visit

Presidential candidate Donald Trump’s campaign is bypassing the state Republican hierarchy in setting up his Monday campaign trip to Knoxville, reports the News Sentinel, but Tennessee GOP Chairman Ryan Haynes says he’ll be there anyway — and it all relates to how much Tennesseans dislike Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

Instead of seeking volunteers through the Tennessee GOP or the Knox County Republicans, Trump’s campaign is enlisting the help of former Knox County Sheriff Tim Hutchison.

“He’s not a professional politician,” Hutchison said of the real estate mogul and reality television star. “That’s why you see him leading the polls for so long. People are fed up with their politicians.”

Trump is scheduled to visit 7 p.m. Monday and speak at the Knoxville Convention Center.

But the state and local Republican party heads have not heard from Trump’s campaign.

“I found out through Facebook,” Ryan Haynes, the Tennessee Republican party chairman.

Public support for Trump is a backlash against traditional politics, and Democractic politicians, according to Haynes, who said he plans to be at the Trump visit.

“I think what you’re seeing is a frustration with the policies of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton,” Haynes said. “Voters are angered by some of the successes they have had politically and they’re gravitating toward a nontraditional candidate.”

Knox County GOP chairman Buddy Burkhardt also hasn’t heard from the Trump campaign.

“Since the announcement came out, my phone has just blown up,” Burkhardt said. “People wanting tickets, people wanting to go. And I’m like, ‘I got nothing.’”

Burkhardt has helped with Knoxville visits from other Republicans seeking the presidential bid from the party, he said, including Jeb Bush and Ben Carson. He’ll help with other visits expected from Republican candidates too, Burkhardt said.

But not Trump’s campaign, though he’d be willing to assist them locally if needed.