Law Director David Buuck Running For Re-Election

By Steve Hunley, Publisher

One of the most important races in the upcoming March 5 Republican primary is that for Knox County Law Director.  The law director is responsible for providing legal advice to all the offices of Knox County government, as well as handling lawsuits involving those same entities, including the school system.  This would include people falling in county-owned parking lots, school bus accidents or other suits filed against the county.

It matters who holds the law director’s post and it is essential that the person holding it is experienced.  During the last four years, David Buuck has been Knox County Law Director.  Buuck has 44 years of full-time legal practice behind him and is recognized as an expert in the field of annexation lawsuits and government law.  David Buuck defended literally thousands of Knoxvillians from forcible annexation as the attorney for Citizens for Home Rule.

Buuck’s opponent in the Republican primary is Daniel Herrera, whose only notoriety is having served a single term as chair of the Knox County Republican Party.  Buuck’s opponent was long on talk and short on accomplishments in the opinion of many observers and managed to galvanize local Democrats.  His 2-year chairmanship of the local GOP was highly controversial and notable chiefly for paying Charlie Kirk a hefty $20,000 fee to come and speak at the Lincoln Day Dinner.  Buuck’s opponent also brags about fielding candidates for Knoxville City Council races, a ticket managed by his associate, Erik Wiatr, which lost badly just two years after two Republicans had won two seats on the city council.

Buuck’s opponent hasn’t been in Knox County very long and has a habit of running for office wherever he happens to land.  He ran for office in his native New Jersey and in North Carolina and lost badly both times, his total never exceeding 25% of the vote.  His last race was for the Charlotte City Council in North Carolina.

Having been an attorney for less than four years, Buuck’s opponent sought to be appointed as a judicial magistrate, a post which requires appointment by the county commission and acceptance by the General Sessions judges.  Herrera had virtually no support on the commission and the sessions court judges announced even if the county commission were to appoint him, they would not approve his appointment as they did not consider him to be acceptable.  That is an opinion shared by most of the people in his own profession.

The Knoxville Bar Association sponsors a poll of its membership, all Knoxville attorneys, whenever a judicial office is up before the people in an election.  Knoxville’s attorneys came back with a resounding approval of David Buuck in the KBA poll, with some 55% recommending him for law director.  In the same poll, almost 43% of respondents noted they “strongly do not recommend” Daniel Herrera for a total of 56% of lawyers saying they do not recommend Herrera.  Only 9.09% of practicing attorneys in Knoxville/Knox County recommended Herrera as being qualified for the law director’s post.

The experience factor certainly matters in an office like that of the law director where all litigation against Knox County government ends up.  Buuck has handled literally thousands of cases, while his opponent has handled less than 100 cases in his short time as a lawyer.  Buuck spent eight years as the chief deputy to the law director under Richard “Bud” Armstrong, who is now a chancellor.  When Armstrong left office, David Buuck was overwhelmingly elected to succeed him.

Buuck has assembled a formidable team of lawyers in the law department, including former Knox County Law Director and Chancellor Mike Moyers.  Buuck’s opponent has no government experience, although not for lack of trying when the sessions court judges would not countenance his bid to preside over night court.

Short on accomplishments and even more lacking on issues, Buuck’s opponent casts himself as the “conservative” alternative, portraying himself as an “outsider.”  He congratulates himself for suing the taxpayers over masking, characterizing himself as a fighter, yet fails to mention he lost his lawsuit.

Herrera likes to claim he “grew” the local Republican party and raised more money, and “called out” the “radical leftist agenda” of local Democrats.  Herrera could also rightly claim he spent more money with less to show for it than any of his GOP predecessors.  As to the Democrats, they saw a resurgence under Herrera’s chairmanship.  If he turned out more Republicans in failed city council races, so, too did he energize even more Democrats to come out and vote.  He also seems content to try and rally those supporters who value shouting and foot stomping to actual accomplishment. Herrera’s candidacy is fueled by his desire to hold public office and seems to have a base among those who equate political theater to getting something done.  A “fighter” who never wins a fight is preferable to some people.  A lawyer who loses isn’t much sought after by clients.

The truth is Republicans saw their winning percentages diminish under his leadership and money wasted and a failed city council ticket to the point where Herrera and his minions did nothing to support the countywide Republican ticket in the general election.

Buuck’s opponent only talks about national issues such as immigration, masking, and uses national slogans while running for an office that is solely local and has no role in federal issues.  Herrera has his talking points but no evidence of any successes.