Now, I can’t stress enough that my picks are not endorsements, recommendations, whatevers. These are just the folks I think will more than likely win in the contested primaries.
I should note that I’ve enjoyed meeting with all of the candidates. You also can check out their guest segments on Inside Tennessee RIGHT SMACK HERE.
Anyhoo, here ya go:
County Commission 2nd: Michele Carringer over John Fugate
Why: I think Michele has campaigned harder. Also – and this is key – when she ran for the countywide seat some time back against Ed Brantley, she apparently beat him in her district. That’s a big deal. Ed is known widely throughout the county and is more recognizable than Fugate, so I figure if she beats him, then she can beat John. That said, John is a damn nice guy based on the conversations I’ve had with him.
County Commission 4th: Hugh Nystrom defeats incumbent Jeff Ownby and Janet Testerman
Why: Hugh has really worked this campaign and knows a ton of people. Jeff obviously has that past issue, which is going to cost him, and, quite frankly, I just haven’t heard a lot about Testerman. That said, Jeff is a good commissioner who takes constituency services very seriously. He answers his phone and enjoys meeting with the people in his district.
County Commission 6th: Brad Anders easily handles John Ashley
Why: Seriously? That said the community is always better off when there are contested races because it typically creates debate. So, shout out to John for running.
Law Director: Richard “Bud” Armstrong defeats Nathan Powell
Why: Flat out, more people know Bud. And that commercial/political advertisement that Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett did for him was the killer. That said, Nathan would probably not have a problem doing the job.
Property Assessor: John Whitehead barely, barely defeats Jim Weaver. Third candidate Andrew Graybeal garners few votes.
Why: This is the toughest one for me to call, and I might change my mind tomorrow before early voting results come in. Both Weaver and Whitehead know the office. But a lot of folks know the “Whitehead” name from his time as assessor (2000-08). Early on, local polling actually put Whitehead far ahead of the other two candidates. Since then, Weaver has spent a ton of coin and current Property Assessor Phil Ballard (who is term-limited) has started to get out the word. Weaver has caught up and, I believe, some polls even had him neck-and-neck with Whitehead or even ahead. Still, with gun to my head I think Whitehead narrowly edges him. That said, I suspect if Whitehead does win, there may be a spot for Weaver if he wants it.
County Commission 1st: Rick Staples easily defeats Evelyn Gill
Why: On paper, Gill looks like a great candidate. But, she’s not working it like Staples is. The guy is everywhere and he has name recognition from previous campaigns. That said, he might have some problems in the general election.
County Commission 2nd: Laura Kildare beats Cheri Siler
Why: Siler suspended her campaign in December and hasn't done anything to get her name out. That said, she's told supporters if she wins, she'll run in August.
District 2: Grant Standefer defeats Jennifer Owen
Why: Grant has more money and more name recognition. Also, Superintendent Jim McIntyre is no longer a factor, since he’s stepping down in July. Candidates in the past were able to use him – good or bad – as an election platform. They can’t do it this time and I think that hurts Jennifer. That said, she could do the job as well.
District 5: Susan Horn and Buddy Pelot force a runoff. Lori Ann Boudreaux comes in third
Why: I just don’t see Horn or Pelot, who each have more name recognition and coin than Boudreaux, getting the 50 percent plus one vote. One of them might come close, but I expect it to go to the runoff in August. That said, I could be wrong. Heh.
On a side note, I’m pretty sure Tennesseans to give Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton the presidential nods.