Herrera Moves On
On the heels of the midterm elections comes the announcement by Daniel Herrera that he will not seek another term as chairman of the Knox County Republican Party.
The GOP held an election night get-together at the Crowne Plaza that was barely advertised if it was advertised at all. Approximately forty people gathered together to watch the returns come in and celebrate whatever good news there was locally. There had been no mass email sent through the Republican party mailing list to make local GOP members aware of any festivities on the night of the election.
Nor was the GOP apparatus locally much involved over the summer for the county ticket’s general election campaign. Herrera has always pointed to the 2021 city election where his compadre Erik Wiatr ran a ticket of five candidates; to hear Herrera’s version, it was a success because it “identified thousands of new voters and supporters during that process.” Of course, if it did, they were hardly enough as it also motivated and energized local Democrats whose candidate wiped out the slate managed by Erik Wiatr. Those candidates averaged 42% – 43% of the vote inside the City of Knoxville. The Democrats had bragged Knox County was turning blue when their own candidates won 43% – 45% in the August general elections, yet the presumption is the City of Knoxville remains solidly blue. Naturally, the numbers vary little from one to the other.
Erik Wiatr had two candidates on the ballot for the November general election. Elaine Davis finally got elected to office after the Republican House Caucus came here and rallied around her. David Pozy got wiped out by Gloria Johnson, who won by her greatest majority ever. Other than that, there was little for local Democrats to crow about.
Tim Burchett got 70% of the vote inside the Second Congressional District, humiliating Democratic nominee and UT professor Mark Harmon.
Governor Bill Lee won a handsome majority, as was expected. While the Democrats circled around Gloria Johnson and Sam Mackenzie and were all smiles, there wasn’t much else for them to brag about locally.
Republicans in Knox County have the opportunity to actually meet the Democrats on their own terms as far as fundraising and organizing goes.
There are some obvious changes needed in the leadership locally and that will do the Knox County Republican Party a world of good.
Windle Loses House Seat
The last of the old-time Democrats lost his seat in the Tennessee General Assembly. John Mark Windle was first elected to the Tennessee House of Representatives in 1990 and has served continuously since then. Windle was too conservative to suit the people running Tennessee’s Democratic Party today and there were rumblings he would be ruled off the ballot, as had happened to former Representative John DeBerry. John Mark Windle opted to run as an Independent and lost the general election to a Republican. Windle was almost certainly the only Democrat who could have been elected from that particular legislative district, but was not the woke, progressive Democrats require.
Still, anyone who served with John Mark Windle respects his innate fairness and ability, as well as his honesty and integrity. John Mark Windle served his people well and his will be big shoes to fill.
With the retirement of Congressman Jim Cooper, Republican Andy Ogles has been elected to the U. S. House of Representatives. The county mayor of Maury County, Ogles had a credible Democrat challenger in state Senator Heidi Campbell. Ogles won easily.