Brokerage firms have to tell you that past performance is no guarantee of future results, but a pair of local politicos hope it doesn’t apply to elections.
Ivan Harmon, who once ran against incumbent Mayor Victor Ashe and got 33 percent of the vote, has declared for the mayor’s race to succeed term-limited Bill Haslam. In what is expected to be a crowded field of candidates, 33 percent would likely get you into the run-off. But Harmon got the vote as the anti-Ashe candidate in a head-to-head race. Whether he can recapture those voters in a multi-candidate race for an open seat is another argument entirely. He has experience. He was term-limited off City Council and has now been term-limited off County Commission.
Madeline Rogero is also running. She had a surprisingly strong finish against Haslam in his first race, losing by as little as 2,000 votes. She would have an easier time trying to re-generate the excitement of that race, though a lot of the impetus was voting against Haslam, who many saw at the time as another rich Republican in the Ashe mold. Can Rogero recapture the magic in a multi-candidate race?
Marilyn Roddy has also named a treasurer and is running for mayor from her current City Council seat. Rob Frost, who left Council after the two-term limit, is also expected to run.
That may be the field, though a lot can change in the next year. Alvin Nance, head of KCDC, may throw his hat into the ring. Another candidate may emerge from the current crop of City Council members. Dark horses might be Nick Pavlis or Duane Grieve.
The dynamics of the race are iffy. Will Haslam win the governor’s office, and if so when would he resign his office? Would there be a special election or would a temp picked by Council be the incumbent in the next regular election? If several Council members want to run, how do they vote for a fill-in mayor who would be an incumbent and have an advantage? (One option would be to name Vice Mayor Bob Becker to the interim post. Becker is one of the few Council members who has said for sure that he does not want to run.)
2011 will be an interesting election year in Knoxville.