Well, the Republicans have taken over the Knox County Election Commission, but the question now is which Republicans?
Election Administrator Greg Mackay and the election commission have gotten kudos for the convenience voting used in the Farragut election last week and planned for the city election, which essentially turns early voting into the election and eliminates traditional neighborhood voting. The Knox County Republican Party, however, came out against it at the party’s recent county convention and Republican officeholders hate it.
Meanwhile, Gary Drinnen is rumored to be a candidate for election administrator if the Republican-majority commission decides to replace Mackay. Drinnen was the spokesman for the Knox Charter Petition group. If the election commission hires Drinnen they will be hiring the guy who led a campaign that eliminated almost half the County Commission and attempted to eliminate electing all the fee-office holders who run the county party. That’ll be really popular down at the courthouse.
City Councilman Steve Hall and school board member Cindy Buttry have also expressed interest in the job. The election commission meets today to get sworn in for new terms and add new commissioner Bob Bowman to give the Republicans a majority.
Most members of the legislative delegation are staying away from the decision on the administrator. The attorney general has opined that if legislators fired an administrator for political reasons the administrator has grounds for a lawsuit. But if the election commission just decides to make a change, for cause, it’s okay. Whatever that means.
Election commissioners may decide to just keep Mackay, or they may set up a process and take applications.