eddie smith

The Knoxville mayor’s election and state House races

(Credit: Don Johnson)

We were fascinated by a map detailing the sharp geographical divide in this month’s mayoral runoff in Knoxville. So much so, that we asked talented mapmaker to superimpose state House districts onto the map to see what it would tell us about potential matchups next year.

For reference, here are the incumbents:

  • District 13: Democrat Gloria Johnson, who beat Republican incumbent Republican Eddie Smith by 12 percentage points.
  • District 14: Republican Jason Zachary, who beat Democrat Justin Davis by 31 points.
  • District 15: Democrat Rick Staples, who was unopposed.
  • District 16: Republican Bill Dunn, who beat Democrat Kate Trudell by 40 points. Dunn has announced he will retire next year.
  • District 18: Republican Martin Daniel, who beat Democrat Greg Mackay by 3 points.
  • District 19: Republican Dave Wright, who beat Democrat Edward Nelson by 48 points.
  • District 89: Republican Justin Lafferty, who beat Democrat Coleen Martinez by 28 points.

So what do the results tell us? Mostly that the status quo is probably fairly relieved.

Indya Kincannon, the Democratic winner of the mayor’s race didn’t carry any GOP House districts, while Republican Eddie Mannis didn’t win in Democratic ones. Kincannon did carry precincts in Republican freshman Rep. Dave Wright’s district, but most of his terrority lies outside the city limits and he won his 2018 race by a massive 48 points.

Rep. Daniel, who suffered a close call in last year’s election, saw Mannis carry 55% of his district. But Daniel has positioned himself more to the right than Mannis, so it remains to be seen whether Democrats can mount another credible challenge.

Johnson’s 12-point win over incumbent Smith last year was an outlier after their previous two contests had been decided in tight races. But Kincannon’s 10-point margin over Mannis in the district shows Johnson’s big win probably wasn’t a fluke.

Many thanks again to Don Johnson for his fine mapmaking work!

 

 

Lee names members of standalone charter authorizer

Republican Gov. Bill Lee has appointed the members of the new state charter school authorizer. The new standalone panel can overturn local school board votes to reject charter school applications.

The members are:

  • Tom Griscom of Hamilton County
  • David Hanson of Davidson County
  • Alan Levine of Washington County
  • Terence Patterson of Shelby County
  • Mary Pierce of Davidson County
  • Christine Richards of Shelby County
  • Derwin Sisnett of Shelby County
  • Eddie Smith of Knox County
  • Wendy Tucker of Williamson County

Griscom is a former editor of the Chattanooga Times Free Press. Smith is a former Republican state representative from Knoxville. Pierce was known as the Nashville school board’s leading charter school advocate before announcing last year she wouldn’t run for re-election. Hanson is a board member of the Beacon Center, Teach For America Nashville, and Valor charter schools.

Under the previous law, the State Board of Education served as the charter authorizer. But it had overturned only three of 21 denials, and supporters of the change hope the new panel will be less deferential to local school boards.

Democratic Rep. Antonio Parkinson of Memphis, who opposed the bill, told rural and suburban colleagues that under the bill “everybody gets a taste of the charter medicine” that has previously been applied to to cities.