By Steve Hunley

Indya Kincannon resigned her seat on the Knox County Board of Education when her husband accepted a position in Slovenia.  Yet Kincannon is still trying to meddle in local  politics from half a world away.  Kincannon has sent out an email blast endorsing Tracie Sanger as her successor.

Sanger is running in the November special election; Sanger faces community activist Jamie Rowe and former educator Charlotte Dorsey.

Kincannon used the familliar McIntyresque superlatives in describing Sanger, but the contest boils down to one issue: Superintendent of Schools Jim McIntyre.  As a member of the Board of Education, Indya Kincannon rubber stamped anything McIntyre wanted.  Kincannon also participated in a politically motivated attack on fellow Board member Mike McMillan, who coincidentally has been McIntyre’s most persistent critic.

Sanger is lining up the support of the Chamber of Commerce elitists and will almost certainly be endorsed by their partner, the Knoxville News Sentinel.  Tracie Sanger is the “McIntyre” candidate in the race.  Ms. Dorsey is also praising McIntyre so there is not much difference between the two

On the other hand, Jamie Rowe has a resume a mile long in protecting the interests of Fountain City and North Knoxville residents for decades.  Rowe has the highest name recognition of all the candidates and has a well deserved reputation for absolute integrity and independence, precisely the kind of person the McIntyre establishment would hate to see elected to the Board of Education.

The McIntyre machine has been revving up to aid Sanger’s bid. Sanger, who is also the president of the Shannondale PTO, recently issued a fundraising email to her own Parent Teacher Organization’s mailing list. At best, this is a clear conflict of interests and at worst, a possible violation of IRS  rules for nonprofit organizations. To me, this indicates a lack of fair play and bad judgment.   There are also rumors that emails are being sent through the official Knox County schools email system.

Sanger has ducked a debate with the highly knowledgeable and well spoken Rowe, claiming she couldn’t get a babysitter.  Would she be able to find a babysitter if she were elected to serve on the board?

Overall, Sanger’s avoiding a public debate with Jamie Rowe is probably a clever strategy, as few people think she would come off second best in a three woman debate.

Mayor Tim Burchett is openly supporting Jamie Rowe, whom he believes to be one of the best candidates for any local office in years.

“Jamie Rowe will be independent and listen to the people, not the bureaucrats,” Burchett says.

Some think Kincannon’s open support for Tracie Sanger may well be a double edged sword.

The latest Focus poll shows Jim McIntyre is underwater inside the Second District, so Sanger may well try and tone down her lockstep support for the superintendent.

Rowe recently had a reception at the Lion’s Club in Fountain City that drew a packed crowd, which included one of the most diverse gatherings anyone could remember.  Mayor Burchett, State Representative Gloria Johnson, former City Council members Jean Teague and Jack Sharp, and former Knox County Commissioner Billy Tindell, as well as hosts of citizens were among the three hundred or so people who drifted in and out of the building.

McIntyre’s faction did not fare well in the last election and Indya Kincannon is reaching out from Slovenia to try and even the score.  Most bet she won’t be able to do it and there are more than a few who think should Jamie Rowe win in November, Kincannon will run for her old seat two years hence.  That may prove to be a stretch as well.