local campaigns

Beavers, Pody complain about PAC billboard criticizing them

A recently-formed political action committee has placed a billboard on a Wilson County highway criticizing former state Sen. Mae Beavers and her successor, Sen. Mark Pody, for voting against Gov. Bill Haslam’s 2017 “IMPROVE Act.” The two conservative Republicans, both currently engaged in political campaigns, complain that the billboard unfairly links traffic accidents and fatalities on the highway to their vote, reports The Tennessean.

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Briley wins Nashville mayor election with 54.47 percent of special election vote

David Briley, who has been serving as Nashville mayor on an interim basis since the resignation of former Mayor Megan Barry, won the position at the ballot box Thursday in a special election.

Briley got 44,707 votes, 54.47 percent of those cast for the 13 candidates seeking the race. He thus wins the seat outright, avoiding the need under Nashville’s rules for a runoff that would have taken place had Briley fell below 50 percent.

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Haslam backs state legislator for mayor over educator opponent

Gov. Bill Haslam has endorsed the election of state Rep. Kevin Brooks as mayor of Cleveland, joining outgoing mayor Tom Rowland and other area officials at a campaign rally Friday, reports the Cleveland Daily Banner.

Rowland announced in January he would retire as mayor and support Brooks (R-Cleveland) as his successor and Brooks announced at the same time he would not seek reelection to the legislature. The situation has “raised eyebrows of some in the community,” says the Banner – especially those of Duane Schriver, a former teacher and school principal who is opposing Brooks.

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Briley raises more money in Nashville mayor’s race than all other candidates combined

Nashville Mayor David Briley, who holds the position on an interim basis, has raised more money than all other candidates in Thursday’s mayor election combined, reports The Tennessean.

His total: $720,200, including $317,315 raised over the past six weeks. No. 2 in fundraising was Carol Swain, a former Vanderbilt University professor Carol Swain and a conservative commentator, at $115,560.

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Report says cyberattack on Knox County election website came from from foreign countries, including Ukraine

Investigators found evidence of a “malicious intrusion” into the Knox County Election Commission’s website from a computer in Ukraine during a concerted cyberattack as results of this month’s local primary election were being reported, reports the Associated Press.

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Knox County’s probable new mayor has been a wrestling libertarian

Former professional wrestler Glenn Jacobs’ win in the Republican primary for Knox County mayor – which usually means assured victory in the general election against the Democratic nominee – has inspired the inevitable comparison with former professional wrestler Jesse Ventura, who was mayor of a Minnesota town before his election as that state’s governor.

In a lengthy report on pro wrestlers as politicians, the News Sentinel says Jacobs “is expected to win handily” over Democrat Linda Haney, and includes comments from Gov. Bill Haslam (who, if Jacobs is elected in August, will be a constituent, assuming he returns to Knoxville) and a Ventura aide. Excerpt:

John Wodele was a Ventura aide serving as spokesman and political adviser for the former wrestler during his time as governor. He said people shouldn’t be surprised that wrestlers like Jacobs and Ventura have been successful.

“I mean, I would just say that in our democratic elected republic maybe it’s unusual that these wrestlers are running for office, but given the way that the WWE and other wrestling entertainment factions operate these days, they’re well-known people and they start with a base and there’s no reason they can’t run and can’t be successful,” Wodele said.

“I know a lot of people stick up their nose at wrestlers, and they did that to Ventura and he ended up looking down on them and I think that’s wonderful, I really do,” he (Jacobs) said.

…Haslam said being a mayor is an “incredibly important” position. When asked, Haslam said he’d emphasize to Jacobs that the role isn’t a political one.

“Having said that, Knox County government is like the city of Knoxville and the state of Tennessee, it’s a big service organization, we provide a lot of services to folks,” he said. “So, it’s critical that people in leadership positions understand that at the end of the day this is really not a political job. It’s about providing services all across the city or the county or the state.”

A separate article characterizes Jacobs politically as a libertarian, though he “toned down the rhetoric on the campaign trail over the past year” as compared to earlier writings and statements. And he was endorsed in his campaign by U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.

Both were featured speakers at an event for the libertarian youth activist group Young Americans for Liberty in Atlanta last year.

“(Jacobs’) small government and pro-liberty philosophy of government – on education, the economy, regulation, taxes and more – is exactly what we need more of in our politics,” Paul said. “It’s why I think Glenn would be an excellent choice for mayor of Knox County.”

Provisional ballots add to former pro wrestler’s victory margin in Knox County GOP mayor contest

With provisional ballots counted, former professional wrestler Glenn Jacobs’ Republican primary victory in this week’s Knox County mayoral election increased from 17 votes to 23, reports the News Sentinel. Runner-up Brad Anders, a county commissioner, conceded once the final unofficial count was completed.

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Rep. Jones loses bid for Juvenile Court clerk to former Nashville councilman

Former Metro Nashville Councilman Lonnell Matthews Jr. won the Democratic nomination as Davidson County Juvenile Court Clerk on Tuesday with state Rep. Sherry Jones finishing second in the five-candidate contest.

Matthews had 25,073 votes to Jones’ 22,517 with Michael Joyner third with 10,407. Winning the Democratic nomination is tantamount to victory in the August general election since no Republican sought the office.

Note: Full election results from the Davidson County primary elections are HERE.

Rep. Marc Gravitt wins GOP nod as Hamilton County register of deeds

State Rep. Marc Gravitt won the Republican nomination as Hamilton County register of deeds Tuesday, defeating Randy Johnston 7,085 votes to 4,981, reports the Times Free Press.

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Rep. Alexander wins GOP nomination as Franklin County mayor

State Rep. David Alexander defeated two fellow Republicans Tuesday to win his party nomination for Franklin County mayor, reports the Winchester Herald Chronicle.

When all 19 precincts were counted, Alexander held a 1,724-846 lead over (David) Van Buskirk with (Eric) Trussell in third place with 394 votes.

Alexander will be facing Democrat Eddie Clark in the Aug. 2 general election. Clark was running unopposed in the Democratic primary. He received 1,173 complementary votes.