Tag Archives: trend

City of Knoxville Becoming a Democratic Enclave?

Frank Cagle, in a column on the developing race for Knoxville mayor, notes that one candidate, Ivan Harmon, is presenting himself as the only Republican in the supposedly non-partisan race. He further suggests that strategy might not work, since Knoxville – as opposed to Knox County and the state as a whole — is trending Democratic.
City elections are nonpartisan, though one wonders if any election in Knox County can be run without party allegiances coming into play. If the Republicans are to rally and retain their hold on the reins of government, they will have to rely on Ivan Harmon.
Ivan? The county Republican Party is trying to gin up support for Harmon and make the race about a Republican victory.
When I worked for then-Mayor Victor Ashe, I recall a conversation in which he wondered if he might not be the last Republican mayor of Knoxville. The trends were there back in 2001.
But along came Bill Haslam, the exception that proved the rule. Name recognition, plenty of money, and a good candidate.
He was able to retain Ashe’s coalition, including black community leaders… Madeline Rogero, a Democrat, (who opposed Haslam and is now running for mayor) needed votes from East Knoxville and if she had gotten them she probably would have won.
I recall a conversation with Haslam during his second term. We were discussing the continued success of downtown development and the boom in downtown living. Haslam joked that his legacy might well be the creation of more Democratic precincts.
In the Democratic primary in Knox County in 2008, with Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton on the ballot, Randy Tyree got 27,945 votes for sheriff. “JJ” Jones got 34,717 votes in the Republican primary. In the general election, if those same Democrats had come back to vote we would now have Sheriff Tyree. Jones won with 25,795 votes in the general. Tyree dropped to 18,575.