A closely held poll in the field last week revealed a “huge” number of undecideds in the 6th District state Senate race. Candidates Marilyn Roddy, Becky Duncan Massey, and Victoria DeFreese have 27 days until early voting starts to get the word out that there is an election and to win over the uncommitted. The results of the poll have not been released as of press time.
State Sen. Jamie Woodson stepped down to take a job with a nonprofit education organization leaving a vacant seat requiring a special election. People involved in the campaigns say there is some confusion—though the special election is on the day of the city elections, most of the district is outside the city limits and in those areas the state Senate race, a Republican primary, will be the only thing on the ballot. (No Democrats are running for the seat.)
Some city voters are also in the Senate district and will be able to vote in both elections. Most of the district is a horseshoe: Sequoyah Hills, South Knoxville, around through East Knox County, then it goes west toward Powell.
Roddy has been on City Council for eight years and spent a year running for mayor. She is expected to have more name recognition at the beginning of the race. Duncan Massey has been involved in politics working for her father and brother, both Congressmen, but has not been in a high-profile job. But the Duncan name and her connections throughout the county from past elections could put her in good shape. Roddy and Massey had similar cash on hand at the last reporting period. DeFreese is running an underfunded shoestring campaign. She once served on the Knox County Commission.