By Steve Hunley

GOP Blues

Randy Pace, former chair of the Knox County Republican Party, issued a “statement” on the GOP Facebook page and it was a rambling screed in keeping with his well-known longwinded nature. The eventual topic of Randy Pace’s jeremiad is his handpicked successor, Daniel Herrera. According to Pace, poor Daniel Herrera has been subjected to “vitriol” and “hatred” from numerous sources including “the Deep State,” the “politically connected,” the “silk stocking crowd,” and “Deep pocketed people” and even some elected “Republican Officials.” Pace informs the few people reading his disjointed missive that there is “only one leader of the Knox County Republican Party.” Randy then proceeds to tell one and all just precisely who it “ain’t.” According to Pace, it ain’t “the local gossip columnist,” which is supposed to be, I think, former mayor Victor Ashe, nor is it supposed to be the local media, which I presume includes The Focus; nor the state, local, or federal officials… Well, Pace omitted yet another someone who isn’t the leader of the Knox County Republican Party: Randy Pace. Yet, there are those who attend the Executive Committee sessions of the Knox County Republican Party who say Pace still presides over it while Daniel Herrera sits there silent as Pharaoh’s tomb. Nobody reelected Randy Pace to anything. There are quite nearly 500,000 people who live in Knox County. Daniel Herrera was elected by a majority, a sizeable majority I will admit, of the 350 or so people who attended the recent Republican convention, who were accredited as bona fide Republicans by Pace’s personal pick of Christine Cruz as chair of the Credentials Committee. Cruz, whose email address was appropriately enough titled “queenbee,” had been living in Knox County all of about ten minutes and had in fact registered to vote here about five minutes after that. There is Randy Pace on a video “introducing” Cruz during her campaign kickoff which is a possible violation of the Tennessee State Republican Executive Committee bylaws. At least Randy Pace was honest enough to admit Ms. Cruz’s husband held him responsible for having recruited her to run for the Knox County Commission against incumbent Republican Larsen Jay. Pace clearly doesn’t like the coverage given Herrera and himself by much of the media here and I have been accused by other news media outlets as being a “Republican booster.” Indeed, The Knoxville Focus has been labeled a “Republican” newspaper. I have said repeatedly that both The Focus and I have a point of view and don’t deny it. That is the primary difference between The Focus and media outlets like the Knoxville News Sentinel and the Compass. They, too, have a point of view and it clearly skews to the Left and the Democrats. They just don’t admit it.

Randy, neither you nor Daniel Herrera are above questioning by other Republicans nor are you above criticism. The officeholders you are complaining about have been elected by tens of thousands of Republicans while you and Daniel Herrera were elected by a fraction of fraction of a fraction. The officeholders owe accountability to the people who elected them, not you and certainly not to Daniel Herrera. Neither you nor Daniel Herrera are infallible. Being critical of you or Herrera is NOT being critical of the Republican Party.

Pace complains in his post about moneyed lobbyists and the like, yet Daniel Herrera has been openly affiliated with and in fact described himself as the “managing partner” of the Angle Group, a self-described lobbying and campaign consulting firm. It is the Angle Group running Christine Cruz’s campaign against Larsen Jay in next year’s Republican Primary. The bulk of what Cruz had raised thus far for her campaign went to pay for the services of the Angle Group. Fortunately, Cruz’s husband seems to be well-heeled and can give her more money to pay the Angle Group’s fees. And yet again, Herrera’s association with the Angle Group running campaigns against other Republicans is a possible violation of state party bylaws.

Apparently Randy Pace and the little group surrounding Herrera, many of whom are refugees from Blue states, think they can tell those of us who have been here for decades, working for the GOP, helping to fund it, and electing Republicans to office, who locally is or is not a Republican. There is some bitter irony a few of those same people who expect Republican officeholders to be purists are themselves former Democrats.

Nobody elected Randy Pace as Daniel Herrera’s spokesman nor to act in any capacity as a former chair of the local party. As far as being “punching bags,” perhaps being above reproach and following the rules of the party you claim to lead might alleviate much of the criticism you are whining about.

When it seems to be you against the world, Randy, you might very well be the problem, not the rest of the world.


Critical Care Beds?

It sure has vexed me to hear all the local hospitals crying about all the critical care beds being full. Yet as our country spends literally trillions and trillions of dollars on everything but, I have yet to hear anybody suggest maybe we take some of that money to build additional critical care beds for hospitals. Certainly it’s not right to put off people needing heart or cancer surgeries or other serious operations because of some other illness. Nor should we as a society think Covid will be the last type of widespread illness to plague our populace. There is some reason to believe the coronavirus came out of a Chinese lab and who knows if another such sickness might leak out of another laboratory somewhere on the globe. The point is if all the hospitals are being so hard pressed, why aren’t we asking our representatives in Congress to allocate some of the trillions of our tax dollars they are spending on a Leftist wish list which has as much to do with infrastructure as Donald Duck has to do with engineering the moon station, on critical care unit beds in hospitals throughout our cities? Unlike the New Green Deal, that seems like an actual good investment for the well-being and general welfare of our citizenry.

There could be any number of reasons why they were needed and if the hospital folks are to be believed, they are needed now. What if there was a chemical spill, an accident at Oak Ridge or the like? We’re no different than other communities. The Spanish Flu 100 years ago killed far more people than Covid and the next pandemic may be far worse. We should be proactive before it’s too late.