Tim Burchett Needs a Friend (or 4,000)

Hey, a guy running for office needs all the friends he can get.

One of state Sen. Tim Burchett's "friends" on Facebook is Randy Walker. Republican Burchett is running for county mayor and Walker is a Democrat running for Burchett's soon-to-be-vacant senate seat—a seat being sought by three of Burchett's fellow Republicans.

Burchett's Facebook account is set up to accept anyone who wants to be a "friend" and has 4,300 subscribers. Allison Burchett, who runs the page, says Walker being a "friend" is an automatic process—he signed up.

Walker says he "friended" Burchett as a lark to see what would happen. He says he plans to use social media in his own campaign and is very familiar with it from using it in his job at ORNL—and he would welcome Republican Burchett's endorsement, but doesn't expect it. Walker scheduled a fund-raiser last week with prominent Democrats, including Madeline Rogero, state Rep. Joe Armstrong, Fuad Reveiz, Knox County Commissioners Tank Strickland and Amy Broyles, Sid Gilreath, and school board member Indya Kincannon as hosts.

The fellow Republicans seeking Burchett's seat are state Rep. Stacy Campfield, Ron Ledbetter, and Steve Hill. Then there's also Democrat Jon Sharpe and Independent Chuck Williams. (Why is this job so popular?)