Jacobs calls for growth, unity at Three Rivers Republican Club

By Ken Lay

Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs issued a call for unity Tuesday night at a local Republican Club meeting.

And his words were potentially sobering at the Three Rivers Republican Club monthly meeting at the Marbledale Baptist Church Fellowship Hall.

“If the current trend continues, Knox County will become a purple county,” Jacobs said. “When I ran in 2018, I won the Republican Primary by 23 votes, and in 2022, 54,000 people voted and that was down 30 percent from the people who voted in 2018.

“On the Republican side (in the general election in 2022), voter turnout was down 41 percent. On the Democrat side, voter turnout was only down seven percent. That was not good for Republicans.”

Jacobs and others stressed the need to take the party back to the grassroots.

“We need to go out and knock on doors,” Jacobs said. “For all of their faults, the Democrats are well-organized and they work hard.”

Jacobs also noted that he was excited about the turnout at the Three Rivers Republican Club, which serves South Knoxville as well as the Corryton and Strawberry Plains Areas.

In his call for unity, the mayor invoked the name of one of the country’s most popular and successful presidents.

“I’m a big fan of Ronald Reagan and Ronald Reagan had the 11th Commandment, ‘Thou shalt not speak ill of other Republicans,’” Jacobs said. “We can duke it out in here, but when we get out there, we must support our fellow Republicans.

“Ronald Reagan also said that if a person agrees with me 80 percent of the time, they’re my ally, my friend. We tend to focus more on the areas where we disagree. We need somebody to fight and we’ve ended up fighting with each other.”

Knox County’s population has experienced a growth explosion since the COVID-19 pandemic as people are relocating from the Northeast and West Coast and Jacobs noted that those coming to East Tennessee are doing so to flee high taxes and government regulations.

“Knox County is growing and people are coming here to avoid high taxes because raising taxes doesn’t work, it just gives government more money to waste,” Jacobs said. “We need to grow this party and make sure that we get the people coming in here into the party.

“The Democrats have gone way too far.”

Also at Tuesday night’s meeting, Knoxville Focus publisher Steve Hunley unveiled a plan for a centralized website that would incorporate all of the Knoxville Republican Clubs.

The site would also contain candidate pages and links to every Republican Club in Knox County.