Mayor running for Congress, former sheriff running for legislature squabble in hallway, exchange insults afterwards

Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett, who is running for a seat in Congress,  and former Knox County Sheriff Tim Hutchinson, who is running for a seat in the state House, had a heated exchange when they crossed paths in Knoxville’s City-County building recently, reports the News Sentinel.

The May 10 incident was caught on a security camera video, but without any audio. The two men offer differing accounts of the verbal exchange, though both say it included anonymous emails about Burchett and his stepson. The two have a political history: Burchett defeated Hutchinson in the 2010 mayor’s race.

Hutchison says the mayor “blew up” at him with accusations of helping in a smear campaign and had to be pulled away by officers. Burchett says he kept his cool and did nothing more than defend his family.

“It is beyond explanation why at least one of my opponents is going to such lengths to trash my family that he will coordinate his efforts with a former sheriff who was kicked out of office,” Burchett said in a statement Friday. “Hutchison draws a large taxpayer-funded pension. You’d think he had better things to do than spend his time smearing my family.”

…Hutchison says the mayor “blew up” at him with accusations of helping in a smear campaign and had to be pulled away by officers. Burchett says he kept his cool and did nothing more than defend his family.

“It was bizarre,” Hutchison wrote in an email to the News Sentinel. “I have not seen anyone blow up completely out of control screaming like that since I was an officer on the street dealing with drunks. … I advised him any work I did as a licensed (private investigator) I could not divulge the client or any details. … He (started) asking about purged records in Loudon County … (I) tried to walk away from him at least twice but he stepped in front of me both times, and he had to be dragged away by two officers, as you can see in the video.”

“Tim Hutchison is a liar, and Knox County voters know it,” Burchett said. “My dad always said that a man who doesn’t defend his family isn’t much of a man. I made it very clear to him that I was not happy, but I never screamed, and the video shows that, as evidenced by the fact that no one passing by in the immediate vicinity appeared to give any notice to our conversation.”

Burchett says Hutchison stopped him “and began apologizing for digging up and spreading around information on my family … and said he didn’t know it was my family.”

“I corrected him and said, ‘You mean my stepson? That’s inexcusable. That’s not true, you knew exactly what you were doing. You aren’t anyone’s messenger boy.’ He got irate and replied with, ‘Well, you dug up all that information on me and got the bank examiners after me.’ … Some deputies took notice of our conversation and suggested we part ways. I walked away with my human resources manager at my side and a single deputy several steps behind us, as you can clearly see.”

… Hutchison insists he was the victim.

“I have never had a bank examiner or anyone else look at me or my finances!!!” he wrote. “It’s just typical Burchett making something up to make whomever he is mad at look bad. … All I did was walk up to him and say hello.”

The newspaper’s description of what is seen on the video:  The men crowd each other as fingers point in what appears to be an animated discussion before they separate. As some bystanders’ heads turn, three uniformed Knox County Sheriff’s Office deputies walk up and intervene, but no one gets dragged away.

Note: Related previous post HERE.

9 Responses to Mayor running for Congress, former sheriff running for legislature squabble in hallway, exchange insults afterwards

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    Susan E Gingrich says:

    It takes a lot to anger Tim Burchett. The Matlock campaign has used every dirty trick in the book to try and win the election. Congressman Duncan and his family supported Matlock from the beginning. Months ago, Matlock told me himself that Mrs. Duncan was involved in his campaign. Close connections to Burchett’s criminal first wife, if not she herself, are involved in helping Matlock win. I admire Mayor Burchett for many reasons, especially his defense of his family. He is an honest, genuine conservative guided by personal conviction and principles rarely seen in most TN politicians. I trust him to shut down the DC government for the right reasons and to truly represent taxpayers, not special interests. Our current state representative didn’t have the courage to show up and vote for or against the bill allowing the Tellico Village POA to own a liquor store. Indecisiveness is not a quality I’m looking for in my representatives. Tim isn’t looking for endorsements but as a conservative activist and leader, he has mine 100%.

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      Stuart I. Anderson says:

      Do you think Burchett is more conservative than Matlock? Jimmy Duncan has a Heritage score of about 82%, please estimate what you believe Burchett/Matlock’s score will be if elected.

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        Usual says:

        In 2002, Burchett was a deciding vote for a one cent per dollar sales tax hike.

        In 2004, Burchett was one of three Republicans to attend a $1000/head fundraiser for Democratic Lt. Gov. John Wilder.

        In 2005, Republicans held a single-vote majority in the Tennessee Senate. Burchett broke ranks with fellow Republicans and voted for Democrat John Wilder to retain the lieutenant governorship for another two years.,497423&hl=en

        Note that Burchett calls himself a “fiscally conservative Republican” on his beloved Twitter, rather than simply “conservative Republican”. Why the specificity? Why not “fiscal and social conservative”? It’s difficult to recall any time he’s done anything more than required (or just showing up to take photos) for socially conservative causes, and this shows as he’ll be lucky to land any endorsements from state- and national-level socially conservative organizations.

        As county mayor, Tim Burchett instructed his county government to balance the budget and to avoid property tax increases, but Tim Burchett is no longer running for county mayor. Tim Burchett’s legislative record is, at the very best, unremarkable and, at the very worst, a clear red flag to any conservative voter.

        Whereas Burchett sacrificed the opportunity for a Republican breakthrough in state government to maintain his own friendship with a Democrat, Matlock sacrificed his standing with Nashville insiders to challenge Beth Harwell on behalf of Tennessee’s conservatives.

        Matlock’s lifetime score would at least match Duncan’s; if anything, it would exceed Duncan’s because Duncan’s is weighed down by his libertarian streak. I’d expect Matlock to rank similarly with Rep. Louis Gohmert (TX-01), with a lifetime score greater than or equal to 90. Based on Matlock’s record in the state legislature, there’s absolutely nothing to suggest otherwise.

        Burchett, on the other hand, would have a lifetime score below Duncan’s, especially if he ever pulled a stunt and broke ranks like he did in the state legislature. He’d be much more prone to whipping from the more moderate party leadership (if Don Sundquist and some Democrats in Tennessee could whip his vote, I’m sure that Kevin McCarthy and Steve Scalise could). Were he elected, I’d expect him to land in the ballpark of 60-70% – in line with, if not a little better, than the average Republican in Congress.

        Burchett’s personal issues (and there are many, many of them) aside, his election would represent a blown opportunity for East Tennessee conservatives to elect an even more conservative legislator. Instead, we’d get a run-of-the-mill Republican beholden to the wealthy, and ideologically-fickle, donors bankrolling his political career.

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          Stuart I. Anderson says:

          Good grief! Thank you so much for taking the time to furnish me and other conservatives with your detailed response. I know about Jimmy Matlock’s reliable conservatism but I didn’t know much about the ideology of Burchett.

          I live far away from the Second District so I don’t have a feeling for how this race is going. I certainly hope that Jimmy has the resources to call the facts that you have laid out to the attention of conservatives voters in the District.

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          Bob Fischer says:

          Virtually all socially conservative organizations advocate for policy that is in violation of the Constitution and/or Bill of Rights. Maybe that’s why Tim doesn’t align himself with those organizations. As to Wilder, he was the best man for the job, plain and simple, and Tim did the right thing.

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            Stuart I. Anderson says:

            Bob, since you appear to be well left of center, I’m sure you won’t be insulted if Tim doesn’t feature your enthusiasm for him prominently in his list of endorsements.

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            Bob Fischer says:

            I don’t have to be in philosophical lockstep with someone to recognize and respect personal integrity.

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    Bob Fischer says:

    Tim will do the right thing. It’s what separates him from virtually all Republicans and most politicians.

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    Steve L. says:

    I weary of those who will “Do the Right Thing” when to chips are down. And I weary of those who say they they are “Libertarian and a fair judge of the correct path between left and right”. All that has meant to my keen eyes over the past 40 years is that their vote is for sale to the highest bidder and will make up some convoluted logic to justify why they sold out. I live in the 2nd District and now I am conflicted on my vote. I monthly contribute to Tim’s campaign. I have voted for Tim several times and encouraged him to run for the Senate (before Blackburn committed) Now what?

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