Ear to the Ground: Brown's Bedfellows

Brown's Bedfellows

Knoxville Vice Mayor Mark Brown had a strange amalgam of supporters that resulted in his coming in second in the Knox County Commission's vote on picking a new Sessions Court judge. Brown, a Democrat from East Knoxville, came up only two votes short on the predominately Republican commission.

Councilman Steve Hall, a conservative Republican, went to the mat to find votes for council colleague Brown. Brown and his allies gave Hall crucial support when he was challenged by Democrat Ellen Adcock in his last City Council race. Hall is also a mentor to state Rep. Stacy Campfield, who plans to run for the state senate when state Sen. Tim Burchett leaves the office to run for county mayor. Brown's council district is in Burchett's senate district.

Brown also got support from Commissioner Greg "Lumpy" Lambert, who is a Republican now in deep do-do with his hometown Republican club as a result. Lambert also lusts after Burchett's senate seat, which as you may recall from the previous paragraph, includes Brown's council district.

Assistant District Attorney Patricia Hall Long won the seat by a 10-8 vote. She has political credentials—her mother is a Lambert of the Blount County Lamberts, which makes her related to state Rep. Joe McCord, long-time state Republican executive committee member Peggy Lambert, and Blount County Sheriff James "Jimbo" Berrong.

But Long's biggest Knoxville supporter was retired Sessions Judge Brenda Waggoner. People lobbying for Long convinced Republican commissioners that if they were to stop the Brown bandwagon they had to unite behind her candidacy. This left local attorney Chad Tindell hanging; he had support and was the second choice of other commissioners, but the Stop Brown movement took his votes to Long. He withdrew.

Waggoner was not able to watch her protégé win the seat, however; she was in Newport helping preside over a Judiciary Court trial of a Sessions Court judge accused of sending probation services to his brother-in-law.

Residency or Not?

The decision to put Leon Daugherty on the ballot for commissioner from the 8th District was narrowly drawn, having to do with the election commission's authority to keep names off the ballot.

The decision by Chancellor Darryl Fansler did not resolve whether Knox County has a residency requirement or not. State law does not require a residency before running for election, but the Knox County charter requires a one-year residency before you can serve on County Commission. Daugherty built a house in the district and moved there in time to vote in the August election, but voted in another district in February. The Knox County Election Commission believes the residency requirement is valid.

Should Daugherty win, the issue could be challenged by the second-place finisher for a definitive ruling. In the meantime, Daugherty goes on the ballot and it will be up to the 8th District voters whether the residency issue matters. Daugherty was picked in a Democratic convention to oppose Republican Richard "Bud" Armstrong and independent Russell Huckaba. The seat, on the November ballot, is vacant after the election of incumbent Commissioner Phil Ballard to the office of tax assessor.

Causing a Ruckus

The Rev. John Stuart, pastor of Erin Presbyterian Church in West Knoxville, has a blog which carries his commentary, but also his "Stushie" political cartoons. Stuart is a native of Scotland and Stushie is a Scottish nickname for Stuart. It also means someone "causing a ruckus," according to Stuart's blog.

The blog is called Pushing the Envelope, with cartoons by Stushie, and is often linked by other blogs. But this past weekend they were featured on CNN. A feature on the blog and the Stushie cartoons ran on the news network four times over Saturday and Sunday.

Stuart has over 200 cartoons that have appeared on his blog since June 2007. It's at stushietoon.blogspot.com.