Well, all of Mark Padgett’s efforts to endear himself to local Republicans seem to be paying off. He is the unofficial mayoral choice of the Knoxville Tea Party. According to a press release from Benjamin McCroskey, the secretary of the local organization, Padgett was the clear winner of a straw poll among attendees at an Oct. 25 Tea Party meeting. Of those who voted, 50 percent said they lived in city-limits Knoxville and supported Padgett in the nonpartisan race, and another 20 percent said they did not live in the city but would prefer Padgett. The other 30 percent expressed no preference. Front-runner Madeline Rogero, whom Padgett has been busy bashing in true Tea Party fashion as a tax-and-spender, received no votes. So now Padgett can now call himself the only Tea Party candidate in the race. If he wants to.