By Steve Hunley

Republicans Win in Spite of Herrera

Daniel Herrera, who all but disappeared during the recent general election, has now taken a victory tour when appearing before the Karns Republican Club and the West Knox Republican Club.  Herrera’s speeches can easily be summarized as “I did that!”  Daniel Herrera is taking credit for the sweeping victory of the entire ticket.  Only Will Edwards, a candidate for the school board, lost and then only by seven votes.  The rest of the GOP ticket sailed to victory in the general election.  Local Democrats certainly had advantages they haven’t enjoyed before inasmuch as they had full-time field representatives working tirelessly throughout the general election, as well as plenty of money.  The Democrats funneled their money to promote their candidates in areas they targeted, such as the school board races in the 4th and 9th districts, and the county commission race between Gina Oster and Stuart Hohl.

In the meantime, Daniel Herrera, as far as any Republican knows, squandered valuable resources that could have been used for outreach, registering new voters and get-out-the-vote efforts.  Herrera paid a whopping $20,000 speaking fee to bring Charlie Kirk here for the Lincoln Day Dinner.  Kirk is a twenty-something head of Turning Point USA who reputedly pays himself $300,000 annually.  And just this summer, Herrera spent $5,000 for a table at the Tennessee Statesman’s dinner so he and his cronies could be seen.

As Herrera tries to take credit for the GOP sweep in Knox County, the Republican base here knows our ticket won in spite of Daniel Herrera, not because of anything he did.


Voters Overwhelmingly Reject Robby

Robby Starbuck, the man-bun-wearing California carpetbagger who was ruled off the GOP primary ballot in the new 5th Congressional district, persisted in waging a write-in campaign for Congress.  Just about anybody could have predicted it wasn’t going anywhere.  The Republican primary winner was Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles, who is a former member of the state legislature.  Beth Harwell, the former Speaker of the Tennessee House, won the Davidson County portion of the district and Ogles won everything else.  Starbuck had loudly insisted throughout much of the campaign he was leading in the polls, a notion that was hotly disputed.  Evidently, Starbuck still believed there was a possibility he could still win the nomination.  The day before the election, Starbuck sent out an email urging folks to get out and vote.  The California candidate told supporters, “If everyone on my email list and everyone in the district who follows me on social media shows up – – – Then no one can beat us!”  At best, Robby Starbuck’s write-in campaign gave him about 4% of the vote.

Observers on social media noted during the last weeks of the campaign that Starbuck’s house in Williamson County had been listed for sale.  The listing was taken down after chatter on social media noted Starbuck appeared to be offering his home for sale.


Pace Loses

One of the little noted features of the recent primary election was the fact former GOP chair Randy Pace was on the ballot.  Pace was seeking a seat on the Republican State Executive Committee.  The referendum on Randy Pace’s leadership was clear: he ran dead last in a field of three candidates.


Thank You, Herb Slatery & Congratulations to Jonathan Skrmetti

Jonathan Skrmetti will be Tennessee’s new state attorney general come September 1.  Incumbent Herbert Slatery chose not to seek another eight-year term.  Slatery was the first Republican to serve as Tennessee Attorney General since Reconstruction.  Tennessee is the only state in the nation where the attorney general is selected by the members of the Supreme Court.  Six applicants were among the finalists considered to serve as Tennessee’s attorney general by the high court, including Knoxvillian Culver Schmid.

Skrmetti served as chief deputy attorney general under Slatery from 2018 until 2021 when he left to become Governor Bill Lee’s legal counsel.  The past three Tennessee state attorney generals have all served as legal counsel to the governor prior to being selected.  Jonathan Skrmetti was the youngest of the six applicants considered by the justices.

Herbert Slatery did a fine job as Tennessee’s attorney general.


Shelby County Turns Blue

The political landscape in Shelby County has continued to change.  The last GOP countywide officeholder just lost reelection.  District Attorney General Amy Weirich lost to former County Commissioner Steve Mulroy.  The Shelby County Commission will have a Black and female majority.

The great majority of judges in Shelby County were swept out of office, including Juvenile Judge Dan Michael, who was viewed by much of the voting public to be a Republican.


Democrats Take Advantage of Republican Division

Knox County Democrats have continued to forecast taking over local government due to the victory of Katherine Bike in the 4th District school board race.  The 4th District is more purple than red and it wasn’t so long ago it elected Finbarr Saunders as its county commissioner.  Nor was it that long ago when Saunders was defeated for reelection four years later.  Local Democrats were energized while local Republicans were divided by poor leadership that has spent more time tearing the party apart by trifling inside GOP primaries.  The truth is the biggest advantage local Democrats had, aside from being energized, was the Knox County Republican leadership.

Perhaps the race most illustrative of the division inside the Knox County Republican Party was that between Janet Testerman and Elaine Davis for Tennessee’s 18th District in the House of Representatives.  It is going to be quite difficult for Davis to put things back together again for the general election.  The prime target for local Democrats in the coming November election in Knox County will surely be the 18th District.

Another factor aiding local Democrats was the very low voter turnout.  The Republican vote was down some 39% from 2018 and while the Democrat vote was down, too, it was not as much as that of the Republicans.  It remains to be seen as to what the voter turnout will be in the fall, but Davis has her work cut out for her in reuniting a party she helped to divide.  That provides local Democrats with their biggest opportunity in the coming November general election for gain.


Putting the Shoe on the Other Foot

Eric Adams, mayor of New York City, had a hissy fit when Texas Governor Greg Abbott began busing illegal aliens to the Big Apple.  Adams pretends Abbott is responsible when the real culprit is Joe Biden and his administration and its open borders policy.  US border communities have been overrun, yet Democrats like Eric Adams have never raised their voices to complain… until it affected them.