Archie Ellis is being recruited as the Republican candidate to oppose state Rep. Gloria Johnson, D-Knoxville, next year. The long-time Sequoyah Hills resident has been involved in community projects over the years, ran for City Council in 2001, and now is chief development officer for Knoxville’s Habitat for Humanity.
Johnson is a rising star of the Democratic Party, one of the few successful newcomers from the 2012 election. She won the seat formerly held by state Rep. Harry Tindell, even though Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney carried the district by 1,000 votes. Johnson is one of two Democrats in the Knox County delegation.
The House Republican caucus is expected to put a major push against Johnson as one of only two or three chances to pick up a seat from the Democrats. It will likely be the only high-profile House race in East Tennessee in 2014.
The Republicans are arguing that, without President Obama on the ballot next year and with Bill Haslam running for re-election as governor, turnout should be higher among Republicans than Democrats.