By Mike Steely
With more than 30 candidates seeking five seats on Knoxville City Council,voters are looking to Wednesday as early voting starts in the five districts.
Five current council members are term-limited and cannot seek re-election. The current council has been one of the most active in recent history, backing Mayor Rogero’s reforms and revitalization of downtown and surrounding neighborhoods.
This year much of the attention has been focused on the 6th District where Councilman and former Mayor Daniel Brown is term limited. Thirteen candidates have qualified to replace Brown, who has chosen not to endorse a candidate until after the primary.
Other races beginning to heat up include south Knoxvillle’s 1st District where Councilman Nick Pavlis holds the seat. Four candidates are vying for this district. The 2nd District race, to replace Vice Mayor Duane Grieve, has four candidates. The 3rd District, to replace Brenda Palmer who serves as Beer Board Chairperson, also has four candidates.
Five candidates are seeking to replace Councilman Nick Della Volpe in the 4th District.
August 22 is the last day for early voting and the city Primary Election is August 29. While only voters in the five districts may vote for their choice the top two vote getters will advance to the General Election. The November 7 election permits residents in all the city districts to vote on each of the races.
The interest in the 6th District, based on the number of candidates, has a lot to do with the East Knoxville area being historically an African-American and Democratic stronghold. It’s possible, with the changing population there, that a white candidate will emerge or a Republican could be elected.
The city races are non-partisan but both political parties know the candidates and may make an effort to lure their members to those candidates.
The Knoxville Focus plans to publish a profile of each of the victorious candidates following the primary election.
Early voting locations include the City-County Building in the Small Assembly Room, Downtown West at 1645 Downtown West Blvd, The Love Kitchen at 2418 Martin Luther King, Jr. Ave, New Harvest Park at 4775 New Harvest Lane, and a new location for South Knoxville at the Cecil Webb Recreation Center at 923 Baker Avenue, also listed as 953 East Moody Avenue.
Early voting times are Monday through Friday 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. and Saturdays 11 a.m. until 5 p.m.