City elections are nonpartisan, but there was no doubt in anyone’s mind that former Mayor Victor Ashe was a Republican and his sometime opponent Randy Tyree was a Democrat. Or that Republican Bill Haslam was challenged by Democrat Madeline Rogero.
In the epic struggle of Haslam vs. Rogero, Rogero had some Republican support but she also had a strong vote by city Democrats, a base that put her close to an upset. In the upcoming mayor’s race there will be at least three Republicans in the primary in Marilyn Roddy, Ivan Harmon, and Rob Frost. (There may be others) A united Democratic effort for Rogero would likely propel her into the run-off as the leading vote-getter.
But Mark Padgett, long active in local and state Democratic politics, is making the rounds and gauging support for his own bid for mayor. Padgett was Knoxville field director for Phil Bredesen in 2002 and is the son of longtime Democratic County Clerk Mike Padgett. Young Padgett’s entry into the race could present a quandary for city Democrats.