While Gov. Bill Haslam has said he is staying out of the current mayoral race to pick his successor, some members of his family evidently remember some television ads from the 2003 election—the ones about a family oil company.
But their contributions to Democrat Mark Padgett, who is running against Haslam’s former opponent and city staff member Democrat Madeline Rogero, also feels like a dis for some Republicans. Ivan Harmon, supported by the county party and the “Republican Club Republicans” could use a few contributions. But there have long been different factions of the county party. County officeholders, rank-and-file Republicans, support the party and help elect the Republican slate. They are sometimes at odds with wealthy Republican establishment types who write the checks.
County conservative Republicans are primarily focused on helping Becky Duncan Massey get elected to the state Senate, but many of them know and like Ivan—a former City Council member and county commissioner.
Harmon has support, but he has yet to convince some people he has a chance to win. His fund-raising is abysmal. But if he manages to get into a run-off, that could change.