Publisher’s Positions

By Steve Hunley

Election Complaint Filed Against West Knox Republican Club

A complaint has been filed with the Registry of Election Finance against the West Knox Republican Club.  William Lyle Oelrich III has filed the complaint, pointing out the West Knox Republican Club “is not a recognized affiliate of the Knox County or Tennessee Republican Party.”  Oelrich stated in his complaint, “Up until 2013, it (the West Knox Republican Club) filed its own paperwork to raise and spend money as a Political Action Committee.”  Oelrich wrote the Registry that according to its own records “since 2013, and this is not a registered political action committee” and quoted the appropriate section of Tennessee State law defining a “committee, club, corporation, association or any other group of persons which receives contributions or makes expenditures to support or oppose any candidate for public office or measure during a calendar quarter in an aggregate amount exceeding two hundred fifty dollars.”

The West Knox Republican Club had donated the rather large sum of $1,500 to the campaign of Liz Tombras, who is running for the Knox County Commission in the 4th Commission District.  Political observers credit Tombras being a candidate due to urging by Gary Loe, president for life of the West Knox Republican Club.  Loe has been on a bitter crusade to disqualify the candidacy of Garrett Holt, who is an announced candidate for the GOP nomination for the county commission in the 4th District.  Loe has questioned Holt’s credentials as a Republican even though he supported Holt for the Knoxville City Council.

William L. Oelrich pointed to the financial disclosure of Liz Tombras which showed she had raised $1,600, $1,500 of which had come from the West Knox County Republican Club.  Oelrich urged the Registry of Election Finance to investigate as the West Knox Republican Club was “acting as a rogue PAC.”

Andrew Davis, a former top staffer to Mayor Glenn Jacobs, who has gone out on his own and is one of the up-and-coming political strategists in the region, has requested a copy of the bylaws of the West Knox Republican Club at least three times in emails, which Gary Loe has yet to acknowledge.


‘I See Dead People’

Regular readers of The Knoxville Focus will recall Joe Biden telling an audience in Nevada about speaking to Francois Mitterand, the president of France, when Mitterand had been dead for 28 years. Last Wednesday Biden told two different audiences at a fundraising event in New York about attending his first G-7 meeting in January 2021 that German Chancellor Helmut Kohl had asked him what he would say if 1,000 people had stormed the British Parliament to keep a newly elected prime minister from taking office. Apparently, Joe Biden attends seances regularly as Kohl died in 2017. The G-7 meeting referenced by Biden was attended by Angela Merkel, who was the German Chancellor at the time.

Biden has claimed that he spoke to the man who “invented” insulin. Insulin was discovered by two men, John Macleod and Frederick Banting and both were dead before Joe Biden was born in 1942.


Candidates Should Run For One Office At A Time

State Representative Gloria Johnson attracted a lot of fanfare when she announced she was challenging U. S. Senator Marsha Blackburn this year. City Councilwoman Seema Singh, who had proclaimed she was a socialist Democrat, not a Democrat, promptly followed with her own announcement she was running to succeed Johnson in the state House of Representatives. Last week, Johnson announced she was still running for the U. S. Senate, but would also seek reelection to her seat in the Tennessee House of Representatives. Seema folded like a cheap suit and said she would withdraw her candidacy in favor of Johnson.

Johnson has turned playing the victim to a lot of mean Republicans into an art form. Now she is saying GOP lawmakers are preparing to pass a law that would block her from seeking state office at the same time she is running for a federal office. That bill is sponsored by state Senator Richard Briggs and state Representative Dave Wright.

It’s going to be nigh well unto impossible to pretend Johnson can beat Blackburn in a general election while still clinging to her seat in the state house.

Johnson claims the change in her plans came about due to an avalanche of emails, text messages and telephone calls received from the public who evidently don’t want to see her leave the State House for a losing campaign against Senator Blackburn.

Flanked at a Nashville press conference by the two Justins, Pearson and Jones, Gloria complained she was being targeted by a bill sponsored by state Senator Richard Briggs and state Representative Dave Wright, which would prohibit a candidate from seeking multiple offices in the same election. The Senate approved the Briggs Bill out of its State & Local Government Committee. The companion bill sponsored by Wright went to the House State Election & Campaign Finance Committee on Valentine’s Day.

Johnson is right that seeking two different offices on the same ballot was permitted under the law and the Tennessee Journal pointed out that state Representative David Hawk of Greeneville ran for reelection to the state House while seeking election to Congress at the same time. Hawk lost the Republican primary for the U. S. House on the same day in August he won the primary for his seat in the state House.

The question isn’t whether it is legal now, but whether should it continue to be allowed under state law.


Allow Me To Clarify

Sandra Clark’s commentary about me and the Gibbs Middle School needs some clarification. Firstly, Sandra was never for a middle school for the Gibbs community. Secondly, I would point out the new middle school in Gibbs opened full, something Sandra had forecast could never happen. In fact, it was at capacity and at least during the first year, if not two or three, transfers were not allowed because there wasn’t space for the extras. Holston Middle School is now inside the 8th District and doing just fine.


Condolences for Deputy Greg McCowan

The Knoxville Focus joins with thousands of others in mourning the needless loss of Blount County Deputy Sheriff Greg McCowan. Deputy McCowan was murdered during what should have been a routine traffic stop. A solemn procession of law enforcement professionals wound down a long stretch of Alcoa Highway to Sevier Heights Baptist Church where family, friends and the community paid their respects to Deputy Greg McCowan and celebrated his life and commitment to his profession and serving our community. Governor Bill Lee ordered state flags lowered to half-mast and attended the service.

Greg McCowan was a man who loved life, who loved his family, friends and his job protecting the people of Blount County. McCowan enjoyed traveling and enjoyed restoring cars, dirt biking, and boating. People need to be reminded of the heart that beat behind the badge. Greg McCowan left behind a granddaughter, children, and a fiancé as well as many other family members.

Hundreds of people stood along the route as the procession carrying Deputy McCowan’s body made its way to and from the church. To the members of the Blount County Sheriff’s Department, The Knoxville Focus thanks you for your service. We mourn your loss and that of Deputy McCowan’s family and many friends. We are grateful for Deputy McCowan’s service and life. Nothing can ever diminish his service and we pray God will grant us all comfort in Deputy McCowan’s loss.