By Mike Steely
With only 23 votes separating Sam McKenzie and Matthew Park in the Democratic Primary for the District 15 House Seat, both candidates were waiting on a final count last week. Incumbent Rick Staples posted a concession on Facebook Friday morning following the August 6 election. Staples received only 21% of the vote in the heavily Democratic district of East Knoxville.
On Tuesday morning McKenzie and Park met with the Knox County Election Commission to watch the final provisional ballots be counted and the count added two votes to McKenzie’s victory.
“I’m proud of the campaign that we have run. Commissioner McKenzie and I kept things about the issues and both ran clean campaigns,” Park told The Focus.
McKenzie told The Focus, “I am excited as I just returned from the Election Commission and my margin of victory increased by two votes.” That gave him a total of 25 votes, a narrow margin over Park.
“I want to thank the citizens of the 15th District for the trust they’ve placed in me during the Democratic Primary. I am looking forward to a November victory!” McKenzie said.
Matthew Park, a newcomer to local politics who ran a well-organized campaign, said of McKenzie, “I look forward to working with him. Our district will now be represented by a better Democrat”
Park and his campaign manager, Andrew Dison, have launched a new political action committee called “ChangeTN” which will aid Democrats running for local and state offices across the state.
“You’ve allowed me to serve for a few terms and I know we got some things done,” Staples posted on Facebook, adding, “I’ve worked my tail off for the district.”
McKenzie will face Independent Troy B. Jones in the November General Election.